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Nigeria Is Melting

Rumors of another massacre in northern Nigeria are filtering out of the country, and they don’t sound pretty. About 200 Boko Haram militants apparently laid siege to the town of Bama yesterday, attacked an army barracks and a prison, freed scores of prisoners and killed almost two dozen military personnel.

In a separate but equally grisly story, the NYT‘s Adam Nossiter tells of truckload after truckload of bodies of suspected Boko Haram militants arriving at the morgue in the town of Maiduguri, in all likelihood killed by the Nigerian security services. “Every day,” said one worker at the hospital. “An average of 14 to 15 bodies a day. They accumulate. Some are swollen. Almost all are emaciated. Some they bring in with their handcuffs still on.” A security official said: “The numbers can be outrageous; they bring them in an ambulance, two or three ambulances, loaded…. Most of them are tortured.” A doctor said: “They just throw the corpses on the ground…. Yesterday they came in and just threw five corpses on the ground.”

As always, reports from Nigeria are contradictory and confusing and unreliable. It’s not clear what factions in the military are behind this apparent outbreak of mass killing. But the risk is that this incident will cause Boko Haram to shift from a decentralized, radical fringe group into an organization that commands widespread support among northern Muslims who feel they are getting a raw deal both from the Christian south and from the existing Muslim power structure in the north.

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  • Blaton Hardey

    Massacre, shmassacre. You tell this story to a random African, he shrugs his shoulders. From what I’ve heard, the entire continent is one brutal place.

    Actually, an ongoing story that you should report on is the reversed apartheid in South Africa. Lots of violence against whites, no support from the government — actually, the government hassles them aswell. A South African guy I know said “When Nelson Mandela dies, the country explodes”. Maybe a few people still think of SA as a “rainbow nation”, but even while most people acknowledge there’s some tensions, I think the level of violence and insecurity is generally underestimated.

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