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Nigeria Update: Civilians Caught in the Crossfire

In Nigeria, security forces killed 20 people yesterday. Who were those killed? Terrorists, says the government; civilians, says Boko Haram. Reuters reports:

The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram denied on Monday that 20 of its fighters had been killed in a raid by security forces in the northeastern city of Maiduguri the day before, saying all those killed were civilians.

A security officer said a mixed military and police force, tipped off about a Boko Haram meeting on Sunday, had been fired on when they approached the site and killed 20 “terrorists” for the loss of one soldier in the ensuing shootout.

The tragedy of the Nigerian case is that, despite Boko Haram’s violent tactics, few citizens feel that they can trust their own government any more than the terrorists. The mix of shoddy administration, corruption, and now a tenuous record on national security have left Abuja poorly equipped to deal with the religious wars that are currently rending the country. Sadly, we can expect the violence to continue.

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