Death toll rises as Boko Haram is challenged

At least 14 people have been killed in a deadly attack on a Nigerian mosque in the Molai suburb of Maiduguri. There has been no immediate claim for the attack but prime suspects are terrorist organisation Boko Haram.

The bombing began around 6.30pm on Thursday, October 15 when suicide bombers had disguised themselves as worshippers and gathered amongst the crowd for evening prayers. The attack follows a stream of bombings as the Nigerian army continue to pressure Boko Haram’s position in Borno. On Monday night, a least five civilians were killed after three suspected suicide bombers detonated following a challenge by locals. October 1st saw 10 killed and 39 injured as 4 suicide bombers carried on their assault in a wave of attacks in Ajilari Cross. The Ajilari Cross is of particular strategic importance as it is located near Maiduguri’s airport and a military base. In addition at least 117 civilians were killed when bombers attacked a mosque on Septmber 20th and the attack was so large that it spilled onto the streets killing football fans watching a televised match as well as other bystanders.

Latest attacks have come following the United States’ announcement that it would deploy 300 troops and surveillance drones to counter Boko Haram and efforts are targeting the spread of the group into neighbouring Cameroon. On Sunday two female suicide bombers killed nine people in Cameroon’s Far North region in Mora and in a letter to U.S Congress President Obama stated the troops would “conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the region. These forces are equipped with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security, and they will remain in Cameroon until their support is no longer needed.”

Boko Haram was initially founded in 2002 and it formed out of opposition to Western-style education. ‘Boko Haram’ itself translates into ‘Western education is forbidden’ in Hausa language. The organisation first launched military operations in 2009 and now Boko Haram now identifies as the Western African province of Islamic State. Both groups are fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate across the Middle East and Muslim territories in Africa resulting in thousands of deaths and hundreds of abductions by the Nigerian terrorist group.

The Nigerian army has expressed optimism to the situation, despite attacks growing in frequency. US officials have denied that the deployment in Cameroon is in response to any changed assessment of threat in the region. Boko Haram continues to target isolated areas, with civilian populations appearing the most frequent casualties.