Boko Haram takes over Nigerian town; executes two for smoking

A Kaduna church damaged in attacks by Boko Haram in June.AP

Boko Haram stormed the headquarters of the Gujba Local Government Area (LGA) in Yobe State on Thursday, declaring rule over Buni Yadi Town.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that the group began enforcing their laws upon the residents immediately, killing and whipping citizens of the northeastern city.

Boko Haram seeks to establish an extremist, Sunni Muslim reign across Nigeria. They have primarily targeted Borno and Yobe States, kidnapping, raping, killing, and attacking villagers. The terrorists have also attacked schools, marketplaces, churches, and other crowded places.

In Thursday's assault, two civilians were killed for smoking, a reputed drug dealer was killed, and 80 lashes were given to a man who was living with a woman without being married to her. Witnesses said Boko Haram raised their flag over the district head's residence, which is being used as their home base.

The militant group is suspected in the February attack at Buni Yadi's Federal Government College, a boarding school. Explosives were thrown into the dorm rooms, and the students had their throats slit or were shot. In all, 59 boys were killed.

Over 90 Nigerians in Borno and Yobe States were killed in attacks by Boko Haram at the end of May.

On May 25, Kumuyya Village in Biu LGA, Borno State was attacked. According to CSW, Boko Haram members demanded the villagers pay the equivalent over $1,500 for "God's work", but only about $400 was collected. The terrorists destroyed the villagers' market stalls, and killed nearly 20 people as punishment.

The Chinene Village in the Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum Ward of Gwoza LGA, Borno State was targeted on May 26. Boko Haram killed eight people, destroyed six churches, and levelled several homes. The group also attacked and killed one person in Amuda Village, Gwoza LGA.

On the same day, another Boko Haram sect raided Buni Yadi, Gujba LGA, Yobe State. Law enforcement and military posts were destroyed in an attack that targeted military officers. At least two civilians, 11 police officers, and 14 soldiers were killed in a two-hour assault.

On May 28, Gurmushi Village in Marte LGA, Borno State was attacked. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that the village was completely destroyed, and at least 40 people were killed.

Boko Haram became internationally known after kidnapping over 270 children from an all-girls school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14. A second mass kidnapping occurred on May 4 in Warabe. Over 200 girls remain missing.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, is concerned that Islamist terror in Nigeria is being overlooked as the world focuses its attention on the Middle East.

He said: "The appalling excesses of IS in Iraq and Syria have galvanised the international community into renewed efforts to combat Islamist extremism; however these efforts should not be confined to the Middle East.

"Islamist terror groups like Boko Haram, which appear to be primarily active on the African continent, also pose a threat to international peace and security. The fact that the alleged mastermind of the Nyanya bombings near Abuja in April is a British Nigerian who was radicalised while studying in Wales and was extradited from Sudan, where he reportedly travelled on a British passport, illustrates this point.

"Parallels between the actions of IS and those of Boko Haram and its allied offshoots are not coincidental. A less compartmentalised approach must be adopted in order for militant jihadism to be addressed effectively, with punitive measures formulated at international level against IS replicated in the case of Boko Haram and other similar groups, including the disruption of funding.

"Nigeria is facing a transnational and existential threat and every possible assistance must be rendered to this strategic nation as a matter of urgency."