Boko Haram bombs targeted the capitals of two northern states in Nigeria today, following the release of a graphic video of jihadists slaughtering civilians in a dormitory.
In a video released this weekend, footage shows militants murdering civilians in a school dormitory 37 miles from Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Borno state. Borno is among the states most devastated by Boko Haram’s war on the Nigerian government; Boko Haram famously abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok there in April. The video appears to have been filmed in Gwoza, Nigeria:
“We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels,” said the leader of the group in the video. “From now, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombing will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.”
Days following the video release, bombs hit a bus station in Gombe state, killing 20 and wounded 40 at a bus station. A third hit the eponymous capital of the northern state of Bauchi. At the bus station, witnesses said the bombs appeared to be designed to kill the maximum amount of people by detonating in double-tap succession, the second stronger than the first and targeting those rushing in to help people caught in the first blast.
“The second blast was worse than the first one because many people rushed to the scene and were affected. Many were killed and many injured,” said Mohammed Fawu.
The Red Cross reported they are still looking for bodies at the station. Officials do not know if a suicide bomber detonated the bombs or if the bombs were set off with a remote.
“I watched as the corpses were being evacuated by the police,” said Hadiza Suleiman. “They all died in the buses.”
Reuters reported officials do not know how many people died in the Bauchi attack, which targeted a market. One person told the outlet that “[L]arge sections of the central market were on fire, sending plumes of smoke into the air.” Medics took the wounded to hospitals, but did not reveal how many the bomb wounded.
Boko Haram seek to impose an Islamist government in Nigeria that adheres to strict Sharia law. Boko Haram translates roughly to “Western education is forbidden.” The group still mainly targets schools, but expanded their victims to include anyone they think are non-believers.
Also recently, the group killed over 50 residents in two schools in Bama, 40 miles north of Gwoza. Witnesses told officials the militants turned on the elderly. A source, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his family, spoke with Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper.
What they are doing now is to assemble the aged persons – both men and women – who are still trapped in the town and villages around Gwoza at the Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Gwoza, near Gadamayo and then they would just open fire on some of them…we are worried because some of our aged parents are there in Gwoza. One of the residents of Bayan-Dutse who has the Cameroonian telephone line called to inform me of this sad development. He said over 50 persons may have been killed in GDSS Gwoza. Other residents of Dhimankara, Ville, Kuranabasa, Gudugum and some other nearby villages are being taken to Uvaghe Central Primary school where they are being shot at after assembling them. We have been afflicted with this unfortunate malady called Boko Haram and only God will liberate us from their shackles.
On December 14, Boko Haram kidnapped 185 people and killed 35 in Gumburi. The village is twelve miles from Chibok, where the group kidnapped almost 300 schoolgirls in April. Witnesses told officials the militants kidnapped “young women, children and members of a civilian defense group fighting Boko Haram. Teenager Aji Ibrahim said the men definitely belonged to Boko Haram “because they were chanting ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great) while shooting at people and torching houses.”
The group formed over four years ago but came into the international spotlight in April, when they kidnapped 300 schoolgirls. The case spawned a social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a picture of her holding a piece of paper with the hashtag. On May 25, President Barack Obama included the schoolgirls in his commencement address at West Point.
“Tragically, no American security operation can eradicate the threat posed by an extremist group like Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped those girls, and that’s why we have to focus not just on rescuing those girls right away, but also on supporting Nigerian efforts to educate its youth,” he said.
Reports claim 219 girls are still missing. America, Britain, and France sent troops to help find the girls without any luck. Instead, Boko Haram mocked the hashtag and told the world the majority of the girls were married off.