In Nigeria, a militant group by the name of Boko Haram massacred over 2,000 people in the town of Baga, and have killed at least 19 people in the capital town of Maiduguri using a school-aged girl as a bomb.
What is Boko Haram? Roughly translated, it means “Western Education is a sin” or “Western Education is forbidden.” It was founded in early 2002 by a Muslim leader, Mohammed Yusuf. After seven years of leadership, he was killed by police in 2009. A new leader, Abubakar Shekau, took control and the attacks escalated. They have been linked to over 4,700 deaths since then. They fight for purity of the Sharia law, and against Western ideals.
January 3, Boko Haram razed the town of Baga, Nigeria, where the death toll reached above 2,000 men, women, and children. “I walked through five villages and each one was empty except for dead bodies,” Monica Mark, an African correspondent writes.
Not long after that, insurgents attacked a Cameroon military base. The fight lasted roughly five hours, with 143 militants killed. Only five of the Cameroonian camp were dead. Thousands fled the area, hoping to find safety of the shores of Lake Chad.
After four days of unopposed attacks, Boko Haram has now placed itself in control of North Nigeria, tightening a grip on the people and the area. Recently, in April, Boko Haram kidnapped around 300 schoolgirls from the Chibok Girls Secondary School in Nigeria. At least two of these girls have been used as suicide bombers, while others are being sold as wives for as little as $12.
The United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry said, “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian Government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice.”
Marches have been organized, starting in Paris, but beginning to spread over the world, as hundreds of people wait to hear what has happened to their family members and friends.