On the 28th of January, 2019, in a village in northern Nigeria, Boko Haram killed at least 60 people. The onslaught took place in the border town of Rann. Amnesty International has called the attack devastating and one of the bloodiest assaults by the radical group since its formation.
In what looks to be the standard operating procedure for Boko Haram, the militants targeted a small, poorly defended village along the Cameroon border. The fighters approached quickly in gun trucks and motorcycles, causing panic and inflicting carnage.
Locals recall seeing fighters from Boko Haram chasing down residents as they fled the assault. Some residents were able slip away from the onslaught, but others weren’t so lucky. Many were hunted down and slaughtered like animals.
Some witnesses claim soldiers abandoned their positions just days before the attack, although no immediate statement has been released by the military. The United Nations noted a recent withdrawal of a multinational task force and a regional counterterrorism unit from the area. Security forces in the north have suffered from insufficient equipment, lack of support, and low morale.
The attack comes as Nigeria faces a resurgence from extremist groups in the country’s north. This presents a severe challenge for the president as he seeks reelection in less than two weeks. His administration once claimed they defeated these extremist groups, which has now been proven verifiably false.
In January of this year, the attacks by these radical groups drove thousands of Nigerians to flee for Cameroon. Cameroon has sent 7,000 back to face the horrors of Nigeria. In recent times, Cameroon has seen at least 30,000 refugees arriving from Nigeria and unfortunately can’t accommodate all of them. Some have also fled to Chad and other neighboring countries seeking shelter from the ruthless attacks by radical groups.
With the elections just around the corner it’s essential for the current president and his administration to deliver on the promise that they would end the bloodshed in the north. The military and government were quick to declare victory over Boko Haram in the past and are now feeling the burden of that statement.
More needs to be done in northern Nigeria to protect the local population. At the same time, the Nigerian armed forces remain in dire need of increased supplies and support.
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