Nigeria: latest Boko Haram attack kills 106

Islamic militants besieged a Christian village on 15 February, murdering 105 men and one elderly woman.

Published 17 February 2014  |  Carey Lodge
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
In this photo dated 6 June 2013, soldiers stand guard at the offices of the state-run Nigerian Television Authority in Maiduguri, Nigeria. The radical group Boko Haram once attacked only government institutions and security forces, but now increasingly targets civilians.

Islamist militants have killed over 100 civilians in the Christian village of Izge, near the border of Cameroon in north-eastern Nigeria, according to reports.

Armed men attacked the remote village on Saturday, slaughtering dozens of innocent people and forcing many others to flee. They also detonated bombs and set fire to homes, terrifying the local community in another string of recent attacks.

Izge, the population of which is largely Christian, has been under emergency rule since May last year when President Goodluck Jonathon authorised increased military powers to tackle ongoing violence in the north-eastern regions of Nigeria. However, there were no military forces present in the village on Saturday.

"A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers," confirmed Senator Ali Ndume.

Earlier today, a local resident told the Guardian that "the dead bodies of the victims are still lying in the streets. We fled without burying them, fearing the terrorists were still lurking in the bushes."

Boko Haram has caused over two thousand deaths in Nigeria since 2009. Its leadership has declared its intention to cleanse the country of Christians, eradicate Nigerian democracy, and replace it with an Islamic state guided by Sharia law.

Though they have murdered many Christians, they have also attacked dissenting Muslims, including prominent Salafi cleric Sheikh Mohammed Awwal Adam, who had publicly condemned the Islamic militants for their violence. He, his wife and 18-year-old son were killed by gunmen who intercepted their vehicle on the 1 February.

William Stark, regional manager for Africa at International Christian Concern, a US-based religious freedom group, expressed concern over the lack of action on the part of the Nigerian and US governments.

He suggested US was not doing enough to end Boko Haram's campaign of terror, despite officially designating it a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 2013.

He said: "[This] would allow the US to take more direct action against the terrorist network. Unfortunately, the US has yet to do this. The Nigerian government continues to fail to protect Christian villages and has allowed hundreds of Christians to be killed in 2014 already.

"More decisive action must be taken to end the bloodshed. If action is not taken, the slaughter of Christians in northern Nigeria could reach genocidal levels in the near future."

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