By Diana Chandler, Baptist Press
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (BP) — Boko Haram killed more than 100 people in firebombs, shootings and suicide bombings in northeast Nigeria at the end of January, the most deadly attacks near Maiduguri where a survivor told the Associated Press he heard the cries of children burning alive inside their homes.
At least 86 bodies had been collected by Jan. 31 in the attacks the previous day on Dalori Village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, where charred and bullet-ridden corpses littered the streets, survivors and soldiers told the AP.
Alamin Bakura, who survived by hiding in a tree as several of his family members were killed or wounded, told the AP by telephone that he heard children screaming as they burned alive. Three female suicide bombers were involved in the attacks near Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria’s largest city and the place of Boko Haram’s origin.
The shootings, explosions and attacks from three suicide bombers continued four hours, because the attackers were more heavily armed than the first soldiers who arrived to help villagers, the AP quoted soldiers who spoke anonymously. The fighting ended only when more heavily armed soldiers arrived.
In separate attacks on two primarily Christian communities in northeast Nigeria Jan. 29 and 27, Boko Haram killed at least 26 and wounded dozens of others, Morning Star News reported Jan. 29.
Boko Haram has continued to attack northeast Nigeria more than a month after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari proclaimed a “technical defeat” of the militants, saying they had been reduced to mainly suicide attacks, as opposed to more deadly raids on villages.
In the Jan. 27 attack, six suicide bombers attacked a crowded market in Chibok, killing at least 17 civilians and a soldier and wounding 30 others.
Chibok is the site of Boko Haram’s April 2014 kidnapping of 300 schoolgirls, 219 of whom remain missing. The suicide bombings occurred on the first day the market reopened since Nigerian troops retook the town from Boko Haram, but Chibok is still not safe for displaced persons to return to, a witness told Morning Star News.
Boko Haram remains a threat to Christians in particular in northeast Nigeria, Ann Buwalda, executive director of the Jubilee Campaign for religious freedom and human rights, has told Baptist Press.
“The mood of the displaced people of [northeastern] Nigeria remains fearful and tense due to the uncertainty as to where Boko Haram will next strike with a suicide bomb or other attack,” Buwalda said in January. Her organization communicates with a Christian ministry to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region.
Boko Haram, intent on establishing strict sharia law in Nigeria, has pledged allegiance to ISIS (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and has killed an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 persons in the past six years, displacing an estimated 2.5 million others.
The 2015 Global Terrorism Index ranks Boko Haram has as the deadliest terrorist group in the world, exceeding ISIS. The GTI attributed more than 6,644 deaths to Boko Haram in 2014, with most attacks occurring in northeast Nigeria. ISIS killed 6,073 in terrorist attacks in the same year, according to the report. Terrorism in Nigeria also is fueled by a militant group of Fulani herdsmen, which the GTI blamed for 1,229 deaths in 2014. The herdsmen were blamed for 63 deaths in 2013, the GTI said.
This story originally appeared at Baptist Press.