The radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram claimed the lives of 40 this weekend in a bombing near a soccer stadium in northeast Nigeria, though not without losing some of its own in an attack by Cameroon forces.
Boko Haram is believed to have been behind the bombing of the soccer stadium in the town of Mubi in Adamawa. The attack, which appears to have targeted fans leaving a soccer game, killed dozens, including women and children who attended the game. According to a source within Mubi’s law enforcement, “More than 40 people have been killed.”
The Nigerian Tribune adds that the soccer stadium itself was bombed, but the attack also affected a nearby bar and brothel. It also appears that militants may have been targeting a military base in the area, home to Nigeria’s Special Operations Battalion (SOB). The Tribune adds that Boko Haram seems to have been especially active this weekend in northeast Borno state, its home base, attacking remote villages.
Boko Haram has been increasingly active in the past week: Islamist militants also attacked a military base in Yobe state, killing 25 Nigerian security personnel. Additionally, the group raided and slaughtered a village last week for refusing to pay an “Islamic” tax to Boko Haram. Their attacks have increased in frequency and magnitude since Nigerian forces vowed to wage “total war” against the terrorist organization.
While the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria has been compromised, both by the violent nature of the organization and reports that Boko Haram militants have infiltrated high enough levels of Nigerian law enforcement to make targeting the group difficult, Cameroon’s forces successfully attacked a group of Boko Haram militants this weekend. Boko Haram militants clashed with security forces in a lethal interaction that Reuters reports killed 40 militants. That attack, according to Cameroon state radio, followed “the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun suspected to have been held by the Islamist group.”
While Boko Haram is based in Nigeria, reports have placed the militants across borders into Chad, Cameroon, and Niger–all of which the Nigerian government has called upon to eradicate this threat. Boko Haram has particularly damaged Cameroon, where border towns formerly known for their ability to attract tourists are now mostly deserted, as potential visitors are too concerned about a Boko Haram attack to risk the voyage.
The United States has called for a stronger international effort to combat Boko Haram, announcing that the eradication of the group was a “top priority” for the United States, as was aiding the search and rescue operation to find over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the group and converted to radical Islam.