Boko Haram Strikes Nigerian Town, Baga, Leaving 2,000 Dead and 10,000 Displaced
Islamists terror cell Boko Haram is ushering in the New Year with renewed tactics that are proving to be even deadlier and bolder as they continue to expand their reach far beyond the borders into neighboring territories like Chad.
Since 2009, the militant group under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, has operated on the rhetoric that Western influences including education should be “forbidden” and this has fueled their mission of destruction through mostly the Northeastern part of Nigeria.
The latest attack on Wednesday was concentrated in the town of Baga, and the aftermath is a horrifying demonstration of the systemized brutal execution that has gone unchallenged for almost six years. The scene of the raid was a graphically vivid battlefield as bodies – including those of women and children littered the burning grounds.
The town was swiftly obliterated as the militants overtook the helpless villagers forcing them to attempt crossing Lake Chad to seek refuge. Unfortunately some of them reportedly drowned in the process – while the ones who remained were mercilessly killed.
One of the area’s government officials, Musa Alhaji Bukar, confirmed the utter chaos that has now reduced the landscape to a vast tombstone. The targeted village boasted a population of 10,000 but is now “virtually non-existent” due to the fact that “it has been burnt down”.
The immediate concern is for the corpses that are still exposed and decomposing due to the elements – family members who are holed up in Chad are too traumatized to return and retrieve the bodies for fear of being caught in the line of fire.
In the meantime, Boko Haram has successfully acquired control of Baga, as well as 16 other towns that are in close proximity and the military remains incapacitated with no hopes of being able to release the grip the Islamists have held for far too long.
The irony of the backdrop of an upcoming election against the debilitating consequences of energized terrorists who have become a force to be reckoned with in a country that lacks the resources and weaponry to shut them down is a searing reminder of the shameful level of disorganization that has dictated the trajectory of Nigeria over the past few decades.
As President Goodluck Jonathan earnestly seeks to be re-elected on February 14, there is expectedly push back based on his inability to enforce the necessary qualities of a leader in matters requiring a sense of urgency.
2014 was the year Boko Haram gained global recognition due to the Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their dormitories back in April. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls took over social media for most of the year and brought attention to the ongoing plight of Nigerians who were succumbing to the violence at the hands of the militants.
As Election Day draws near, Jonathan is hoping to spend the time he has left to convince civilians both home and abroad that he is determined to defeat Boko Haram despite the fact that they have menacingly polluted his administration since he took office back in 2010.
There also the likelihood that dwellers in the northeast won’t be able to vote because of the dangerous climate which will definitely affect the outcome of the day.
But even more telling is the fact that there will even be an election amidst the war being waged. This is a warning sign that there will be no leader good enough to save a nation that continues to rely on bipolar tendencies and a malfunctioning blueprint for redemption.