On June 17th, a twin suicide attack took the lives of 31 people in Damboa, a Local Government Area of Borno State located in the northeast of Nigeria. The UN news website reports that the attack is suspected to have been orchestrated by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, to target Eid al-Fitr celebrations. The religious celebration, in which Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, a holy month marked by the abstinence from food and drink, was targeted by the extremist group in an attempt to drag the nation into further chaos. According to Mohini, the strike was soon followed by rocket-propelled grenades which were fired by the terrorist organization in order to heighten the number of casualties of the remaining civilians, increasing the amount of injured. Even though no one has claimed responsibility for the assault, experts have noted that it is marked by its similarity to Boko Haram’s past military methods and suspect that kidnapped girls were what they used to execute the initial blast, according to Reuters news agency.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack the following day, according to the UN news website. He demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice for their crimes, offering condolences to families of the victims. United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard, also expressed grief over the victims of the assault, insisting that the country’s leadership step up to protect its citizens, according to the Nigerian Daily Post, a local newspaper.
The attacks are a showcase of the current efficiency of the elected Nigerian government in combating terrorist activity in the nation. Even though President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to “eliminate the militant group” and claimed that they are in decline, according to DW, the extremist organization still poses a strong threat to the country, especially the northeastern part and the Lake Chad region. Terrorist strikes remain frequent and harrowing in the aforementioned areas and showcase that Boko Haram is strongly militarily equipped. They may even have “access to military-grade weaponry,” according to Ryan Cummings, an Africa analyst and scholar at South Africa with Agence France-Presse.
The militant group has caused the death of 20,000 lives since it emerged in 2011. BBC reports that they garnered international outrage when they kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. The UN recently announced in April 2018 that Boko Haram has kidnapped over 1000 children since 2013. According to Al-Jazeera, two million people have been forced to flee as a result of the group’s violent acts. Out of the 2 million, around 90000 internally displaced refugees reside in Damboa, which is considered to have one of the highest numbers of refugees in the Borno State, the Nigerian Daily Post notes.
The Boko Haram suicide attack is only a small segment of the much larger humanitarian crisis that is engulfing the afflicted parts of Nigeria. The loss of civilian lives continues to happen on a semi-regular basis as the terrorist organization shows no signs of defeat. 7.7 million people have been reported to be in need of humanitarian assistance, especially in heavily affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, according to Myrta Kaulard. This puts considerable pressure on Buhari, who is up for re-election next February, to increase all efforts against Boko Haram. However, most importantly, the Nigerian government also requires international support to manage the current crisis before it becomes catastrophic.
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