BORNO, Nigeria — Boko Haram killed at least 83 civilians and soldiers in two separate attacks in northeast Nigeria in the past week before releasing a video of three new captives pleading for help.
In its bloodiest attack this year, the militants killed at least 69 in a July 25th ambush on an oil exploration team in the Magumeri area of Borno, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported July 30 after the last body was recovered. A separate attack, a suicide bombing carried out by one or two people on July 29, killed 14 and injured 24 in the Borno town of Dikwa, according to separate reports from Reuters and AFP.
In a video appeal reportedly recorded July 28 and released the next day, three members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) exploration team, who identified themselves as University of Maiduguri employees, asked the Nigerian government and others to meet the terrorists’ demands.
“I want to advise that the use of excessive force, it is not the solution,” a man who identified himself as a lecturer in the geology department of the university, said on the four-minute video. “They have promised us that if their demands are met, they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were caught doing.”
No demands were stated in the video posted at YouTube. The terrorists typically demand ransoms, according to news reports, and have released captives in exchange for the freedom of imprisoned Boko Haram fighters.
The captured men gave their names as Yusuf Ibrahim, Solomon N. Yusuf and Haruna, Vanguard News reported. The men appeared unharmed but barefoot in an unidentified structure, and emphasized that they were captured July 25.
Boko Haram killed 19 soldiers, 33 civilian militia and 17 other civilians while attacking the oil exploration team, an unnamed humanitarian aid worker told AFP.
The jihadists have killed at least 113 people in northeast Nigeria since June 1, Reuters said July 29. Independent security experts have countered claims made by Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari nearly eight months ago that Boko Haram has been essentially defeated. In December of 2016, Buhari said the fighters were so weakened they were only able to conduct isolated attacks by suicide bombers.
Boko Haram’s continued attacks clearly disprove Buhari’s claim, security consultant Ahmed Kadiri told TVC News Nigeria in an interview broadcast July 27.
“They are quite determined in whatever efforts, whatever objectives they have in mind,” Kadiri said. “They are not going to give up, and if we relent … it will embolden them.”
Nigeria’s army is “capable of handling itself,” Kadiri said, but called on the international community including the United States for help in gathering intelligence to battle the jihadists. “We need more intelligence in battling Boko Haram.”
Boko Haram operates with the support of secret informants, Nigerian Major General John Eneche told Channels TV today, July 31.
“The pockets of attacks we are having here,” Eneche said, “are based strongly on information from their collaborators, who are still among us.”
Buhari has been in Britain on medical leave for an undisclosed illness since May 7, according to news reports, and has left Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in charge of the country.
Boko Haram originally targeted Christians but has also killed moderate Muslims, government officials and civilians in efforts to abolish Christianity and establish Sharia law. At its strongest point, in early 2015, Boko Haram held Islamic caliphates or Sharia-based governments covering more than 20,000 square miles in northeast Nigeria.
The terrorists have killed between 20,000 and 25,000 people since 2009, according to official estimates, and have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
— by Diana Chandler | BP