For the militant terrorist group Boko Haram, the start of the Western new year merely signifies a new start of massacres and raids.
On Jan. 3, the Nigeria-based group attacked the town of Baga, seized the militant base and proceeded to set the town on fire. Boko Haram followed up on this assault a week later, when it attacked a Cameroon military base, and again on Jan. 18, with a raid on two Cameroon area villages, where it torched houses, killed residents and kidnapped an estimated 80 residents.
According to Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a video released on Jan. 20, the terrorist group killed the victims under God’s command. Religion was one of the original bases of the terrorist militant organization. Boko Haram claims that its end goal is to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria with a strict form of sharia law.
Boko Haram has long been infamous for various atrocities ranging from suicide bombings to attacks on government buildings and kidnappings. The most infamous crime was the kidnapping and “marrying off” of 276 Chibok schoolgirls in April 2014. Recent criminal activity shows that Boko Haram increasingly target children; out of the 80 residents kidnapped in the Cameroon raid, an estimated 50 were children between 10 and 15. In addition, the group detonates bombs attached to young children.
These seemingly unstoppable crimes only broadcast the Nigerian government’s incompetence in stopping the militant group. Not only is the government weakened by corruption, but it also has little motivation and few supplies in comparison to Boko Haram. Much of Boko Haram’s funding comes from ransoms, bank robberies and extortion of local governments. While China, France and the United Kingdom have offered supplies and military training to Nigeria, efforts of support from the U.S. have failed due to a lack of trust between the U.S. and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the casualties of the organization’s activities continue to accumulate and have been compared to those of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Between Nov. 2013 and Nov. 2014, approximately 10,000 deaths are related to Boko Haram violence – the same number as ISIS. Just on Jan. 9, an attack in the state of Borno left almost 2,000 dead.
“The fact that Boko Haram is willing to kill children shows the local government and the world what they are capable of,” Sophomore Aaron Ge said.