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Boko Haram Attacks Escalate and Target Borno Capital

Boko Haram Attacks Escalate and Target Borno Capital

In this Thursday Nov. 27, 2014 photo, children displaced after attacks by Boko Haram, line up in the camp of internal displace people, in Yola, Nigeria. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
On Sunday, January 25, the Nigerian city of Maiduguri was attacked by Boko Haram, an extremist insurgent group that received international attention for the April 2014 kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. The attack came soon after the city of Monguno, overwhelmed by the militant soldiers, fell to Boko Haram. Boko Haram, known for its brutal conscription of soldiers and violent raids, has been increasingly gaining ground in Nigeria, storming numerous cities and villages in northeastern Nigeria. In 2014 alone, Boko Haram attacks killed over 11,000 people. On January 3, they carried out an attack on the town of Baga, killing an estimated 2,000 residents in the process. In most operations carried out by the group, Boko Haram conducts an all-out attack on a city, overwhelming the local Nigerian army; the army often flees, leaving the targeted city defenseless against the militants. However, the attack on Maiduguri has faced resistance from local vigilantes alongside the Nigerian army, who have been pushing the militants out of the city. Although the city is not entirely safe from further Boko Haram attacks, it is currently serving as a haven for survivors of the attack on Monguno. Nigeria has rejected any intervention from the United Nations and the African Union, claiming that the Nigerian army is capable of repelling Boko Haram attacks without foreign assistance. However, the attack on Maiduguri– a city of 600,000 residents and the state capital of Borno– has raised concerns for the upcoming February democratic elections. United States Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Nigeria to call for the elections to proceed on time. He has said to the Nigerian presidential candidates that the US could provide more assistance against Boko Haram after the elections are over. However, at this point in time, the US currently does not sell arms to the Nigerian army due to its human rights violations. Gaining control of Maiduguri would be a massive advantage to Boko Haram; the city is the one of the largest cities in northeastern Nigeria and it is already surrounded by areas under Boko Haram's control. This attack has been the group's most audacious attack yet, and Maiduguri residents believe that the militants will be back to conduct another attack on their city. Sources: BBC News, CNN, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,
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