Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Nigerian village vigilantes kill 200 Boko Haram and drive them off
With the government unable or unable to defend them, three villages in Nigeria set up their own defense force and drove off attackers from Boko Haram.
The BBC, Al Jazeera and Turkish Press said up to 200 members of the gang of Islamic fanatics were killed near Kala-Balge district of Borno state on the Cameroon border.
The Osundefender website in Nigeria published a picture of what it said were dead Boko Haram fighters.
The Daily Beast said Nigeria’s security forces have developed a reputation for being even worse than Boko Haram, indiscriminately arresting alleged rebels, their families, and executing some. That makes the population unwilling to cooperate with them. The Daily Beast quoted human rights lawyer Justine LLjeomah, himself a victim of police brutality.
BBC said an eyewitness, whose name was withheld for his safety, said he had seen 150 bodies of the terrorists in one village and 50 in a second. Al Jazeera said some of the Boko Haram fighters were captured.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks that have left up to 4,000 dead, as well as the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls.
The kidnappings attracted world attention and the Nigerian government belatedly accepted offers of help from the US, France, United Kingdom, Israel and others.
US aircraft, including drones, have begun flying over the area where the girls were believed to be held. It wasn’t clear whether they would cross the nearby borders of Cameroon and Chad, though both former French colonies were unlikely to object.
The villages that fought off Boho Haram on Tuesday are near where the group’s gunmen had killed 300 people last week.
Villagers reportedly had received warnings the attack was coming and were prepared. Amnesty International says the Nigerian army was warned at least four hours ahead of time before the girls were kidnapped April 14 but did nothing.
The girls’ plight has been adopted by the world, and led to the creation of the #bringourgirlsback Twitter hashtag.
Nigeria has said it will talk with Boko Haram, which first publicly appeared in 2009, about a possible prisoner exchange for the girls. That would be much more likely to bring them home safely than a raid by commandos. Such rescues usually end in some deaths.
The government also has offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the rescue of the girls.