Since Friday, more than 150 people have been killed in attacks by both militant Islamists and government forces in Nigeria. The latest attack, allegedly by Boko Haram militants, killed 31 people. Reuters:
Gunmen stormed Mafa village in Borno, around 50 km (30 miles) east of the state capital Maiduguri, at around 8 p.m. on Sunday, shooting fleeing civilians and throwing explosives at occupied houses, witness Auwalu Gunda said.State senator Ahmed Zannah said 29 civilians died in the raid and two policemen were killed in a bomb blast on Monday while they were trying to remove bodies and question survivors about the initial attack.Twin bomb blasts in Maiduguri killed at least 46 people on Saturday evening while, around 50 km away, dozens of gunmen were razing a farming village, shooting dead another 39, as Boko Haram increasingly focuses on the civilian population.
This attack marks a new high for the death toll from a Boko Haram attack. The violence in Nigeria has been escalating ever since President Goodluck Jonathan launched a military operation in the Muslim-dominated north. The fact that government forces are poorly disciplined, badly equipped military, and plagued by desertions hasn’t helped matters. Witnesses report, for example, that Nigerian military planes have mistakenly targeted fleeing civilians.While the violence has been contained to the north so far, there is a real danger that Boko Haram might link up with militants from Mali, consolidate their power, and spread the conflict beyond Nigeria’s borders.