Who Is Responsible For The Nigeria Attacks? Signs Point To One Terrorist Group
On Wednesday, suicide bombers killed 24 people and wounded 18 at a Nigerian mosque. Who is responsible for the Nigeria attacks? Though no group has officially claimed responsibility, The New York Times reported that Boko Haram is suspected to be behind it. Nigerian Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman released a statement suggesting Boko Haram is likely culpable based on their ties to prior terrorist activity in the area. The group is known for attacking in the area of Borno State capital Maiduguri.
Both suicide bombers were female, according to Al Jazeera. Attacking around the city in which Boko Haram was founded, one bomber detonated explosives inside the mosque and another attacked outside. One wore men's clothing, The New York Times reported, most likely to have greater mobility within the mosque. The Nigerian Army has had success taking back territory claimed by Boko Haram, but the group responded in recent months by increasing the number of bombings. Since 2009, Boko Haram has been responsible for about 20,000 deaths, Al Jazeera reported.
The Nigerian military uses Umarari as a command center close to Boko Haram territory, making it an appealing target for terrorists. In December, Boko Haram attacked Maiduguri; the group killed 50 people using bombs and grenades, according to The Guardian. Around the same time, the group carried out a similar suicide bombing in nearby town Madagali, killing 30.
Nigeria is committed to fighting Boko Haram. This week, the Nigerian Army freed 800 hostages from northeastern villages, according to Al Jazeera. The largest number of hostages came from Kusumma village, where 520 people were rescued. More than 300 were rescued from 11 other villages.
Boko Haram is particularly well-known for abducting women and girls. Just this week, Boko Haram kidnapped 16 women in Adamawa state, Yahoo! News reported. The hostages were being escorted by "civilian vigilantes" at the time of their kidnapping as they collected firewood and fished. Two women managed to escape by faking their own drowning deaths in the river; they later alerted the village to the abduction. Premium Times reported Friday that the kidnapped women have been rescued.
As the Nigerian Army continues to work against insurgents, Boko Haram's attacks still prompt Nigerians to leave their homes, The New York Times reported. Though many Boko Haram fighters are being forced to take shelter in forests, the group continues to force displacement on a mass scale from Nigerian citizens scared for their own safety. The group's potential involvement in the mosque attack has stoked fear in Maiduguri.