With the upcoming general elections in Nigeria quickly approaching, Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency that has killed 14,000 Nigerian’s since 2009, is on everyone’s mind. Post-election violence in 2011 saw to the destruction of more than 700 churches and 3,000 Christian homes and businesses, pushing experts to question how much more damage could be wrought following the general elections, set to commence February 14 given Boko Haram’s vastly expanded capabilities.
01/23/2014 Nigeria (Christian Century) – The purported leader of Boko Haram claimed responsibility in a video Wednesday (January 21) for a massacre in the Nigerian town of Baga, the deadliest attack by the Islamist group since they started terrorizing northern Nigeria six years ago.
Abubakar Shekau threatened more violence in the unverified YouTube video.
“This is just the beginning of the killings,” Shekau said in the local Hausa language. “What you’ve just witnessed is a tip of the iceberg. More deaths are coming.”
The massacre in Baga, in northern Borno state, was reported to have a death toll as high as 2,000. The Nigerian government disputes the report, arguing the true number is 150, but few trust the government tally.
The video arrived two days after the United Nations Security Council released its first overall statement condemning the group and demanding that Boko Haram “immediately and unequivocally cease all hostilities and all abuses of human rights and violations.” The statement, the first that went beyond condemning a specific attack, appeared to be in response to criticism in Nigeria that the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, which killed 17, got far more attention from the international community than have ongoing Boko Haram attacks.
The UN also called for plans to step up a multinational force to fight the Nigerian jihadists.