Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been suspected of killing 27 people in attacks on two separate villages in northeast Nigeria, within close proximity to where almost 300 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram last month.
Police reported that ten were gunned down in the village of Shawa, while another 17 were taken out by Islamist forces in Alagarno.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki weighed in on the most recent wave of Boko Haram attacks. She said the attacks were “unconscionable, terrorist acts.” Psaki continued, saying the U.S. would help Nigeria “in their efforts to defeat violent extremism.”
Correspondents told the BBC that northeast Nigeria is ripe for attacks because the area is so violent that even the Nigerian military tends to stay away from it.
The attacks on the two villages occurred Monday and Tuesday, but it took until Wednesday for the information to reach the media. Witnesses said the Boko Haram insurgents arrived at night on motorcycles, forcing many to flee with short notice. A survivor told the BBC that every building in the village had been burned to the ground.
Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck called the recent attacks “cruel and evil.” Goodluck announced that a multinational force will be moved into the Lake Chad area, with supporting military units from Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger.
On Wednesday, Nigerian officials pleaded with the United Nations to designate Boko Haram a terrorist group. A UN committee is expected to decide upon Nigeria’s request when it convenes on Thursday. If the designation is implemented, the UN can impose travel bans and weapons embargoes, along with freezing the assets of Boko Haram and its supporters.
Boko Haram has killed over 1,000 people in 2014 alone. The most recent attack comes less than 24 hours after Boko Haram was suspected of twin bomb attacks that killed at least 118 people in the city of Jos. On Sunday, the Islamist entity was suspected of orchestrating a suicide attack that killed four in the village of Kano. The group seeks to create an Islamic state and implement Sharia law throughout the region.