If Nigeria were a mother, she would have drenched a pile of pillows in her tears. Not only that, she would possibly have lost her sanity too over the ceaseless loss of lives to the incessant and unreasonable attacks by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, which seems to have vowed that no day would pass without scores of people dying violently.
The pace of the notorious group’s assault, which targets the defenseless, has dramatically been intensified since the birth of the uprising in 2009 and has left, in its wake hundreds of lifeless bodies – many of them decapitated and missing limbs.
This crime against humanity persisted into 2014, even taking a turn for the worse despite frantic efforts by the military, spearheaded by the Defense Headquarters (DHQ), to curb the menace. The imposition of a state of emergency in the troubled states – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa – didn’t deter the terrorists.
At the last count, the militants were responsible for over 4,000 deaths in just 12 months. Here are the major attacks by the notorious sect.
The Kawuri massacre – January 26
Kawuri, a village in Konduga Local Government, Borno State located some 37 kilometres Southeast of Maiduguri, was torched by suspected Boko Haram insurgents. The attack left about 4,000 residents displaced and claimed the lives of more than 80 villagers.
The Izghe massacre – February 16
Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram militants stormed Izghe, a village in Gwoza local government, Borno state; they rounded up a group of men and shot them, before going door-to-door and killing anyone they found.
Sen. Ali Ndume, representing where the attack took place, told newsmen that 106 people – 105 men and an elderly woman trying to protect her grandson – were killed in the attack which reportedly lasted about five hours. A second raid occurred a few days later, in which the village was burnt.
Federal Government College, Buni Yadi razed – February 25
Boko Haram militants locked the doors to a boys’ dormitory of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, a secondary school near Damaturu, Yobe State and set the building on fire, killing 59. All 24 buildings of the school were razed in the attack by militants of the Boko Haram sect.
On the night of April 14-15 2014, about 276 female students were kidnapped by the militants from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno state. They broke into the school, pretending to be guards and told the girls to get out and come with them. A large number of the students were taken away in trucks, possibly into the Konduga area of the Sambisa Forest where the sect was known to have fortified camps.
Houses in Chibok were also burnt in the incident. The school had been closed for four weeks prior to the attack due to the deteriorating security situation, but students from multiple schools had been called in to take final exams in Physics.
There were 530 students from multiple villages who registered for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. The final-year students were aged between 16 and 18. Initial reports said 85 students were kidnapped in the attack. But by the weekend, the military released a statement that said more than 100 of 129 kidnapped girls had been freed.
However, the statement was later retracted. And on April 21, parents said 234 girls were missing. A number of the students escaped the kidnappers den in two groups. According to the police, approximately 276 children were taken in the attack, of which 53 were able to escape.
Nyanya bus station blast – April 14
Also on April 14, at about 6:45am, two bombs exploded at a crowded bus station, 8 km Southwest of Central Abuja, killing at least 70 people and injuring 200. The explosives which were hidden in vehicles were detonated during the morning rush at the bus station in Nyanya on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). After the initial blast, further explosions occurred as fuel tanks in nearby vehicles ignited.
Second Nyanya bombing – May 1
On May Day, a car bomb attack killed at least 19 people and injured 60 more in the suburb of Nyanya (Abuja), close to a bus station where at least 70 people died in a bomb blast on April 14. Witnesses said the explosion targeted a police checkpoint near a bus station, making it two attacks on Nyanya within 15 days.
On the night of May 5-6, Boko Haram militants attacked the twin border towns of Gamboru and Ngala (both in Borno State). The official death toll was first set at 200 on May 7. Later, Sen. Ahmed Zanna representing where the attack occurred reported that the death toll was around 300. That number was then refined by Zanna and local resident, Waziri Hassan, both of whom reported at least 336 deaths in the attack which lasted for 12 hours, with the town largely destroyed.
Most of the survivors fled to neighbouring Cameroon. On the same night, Boko Haram, again, abducted eight girls aged between 12 and 15 from the region, a number later raised to 11.
Twin car explosions in Jos, over 100 killed – May 20
Two bombs exploded in Jos, Plateau state, killing at least 118 people and injuring more than 56 others. The first bombing occurred in a marketplace, and the second near a bus station. The twin car blasts occurred 30 minutes apart. One at 3:00 and the other at 3:30. The first explosion occurred in the Terminus Market, where there were over 50 casualties. The second explosion took place near a hospital and killed potential rescuers who had gone to assist after the first bomb exploded.
Mubi bombing, 40 dead – June 1
On the evening of June 1, a bomb was set off at a football field in Mubi, Adamawa State. At least 40 people were killed in the attack, according to witnesses, while 19 others were injured.
Gwoza about 200 slaughtered – June 2
Militants dressed as soldiers slaughtered at least 200 civilians in three communities in Gwoza. A community leader who witnessed the killings said that local residents had pleaded for help from the military, but it did not arrive in time. It took a few days for word from survivors to reach the capital, because the roads are extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor or nonexistent. The slaughter was confirmed by both Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, whose hometown is Gwoza, and by a top security official in Maiduguri who insisted on anonymity.
Twin blasts in Kaduna, over 80 dead – July 23
On July 23, two bomb blasts rocked Kaduna, leaving more than 80 persons dead, an attack suspected to have been targeted at former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). The two blasts occurred within two hours of each other.
Police said 25 people were killed in the first blast, but witnesses told newsmen that about 40 actually died in the blast. Not less than 50 people were also reported to have dead in the second bomb attack.
Boko Haram massacred 28 civilians and kidnapped another 97 in attacks on villages in Borno State.
Boko Haram destroys Kukawa, Kills Many – October 29
Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists invaded Kukawa town, Kukawa local government area of Borno State. They torched the Kukawa Police Station, Government Lodge and other public buildings in the town and over 250 vehicles.
A resident of the town, Mallam Abor Kanembu said the insurgents stormed the town in several Hilux vehicles and motorcycles and moved straight to the police station and started shooting sporadically targeting residents, using rocket propelled launchers and AK47 rifles.
Potiskum blast targeted at Shiite worshipers – November 3
At least 20 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a shiite religious ceremony in Potiskum, Yobe state. Boko Haram claimed that shiites, a minority in Nigeria, are non- Muslims. Witnesses said the bomb exploded when a crowd was marching to mark shura, a day when shiites mourn the death of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The shiite worshippers were outside a seminary in the Tsohuwar Kasuwa area of the city after visiting the palace of the local emir.
Another Potiskum blast, nearly 50 killed – November 10
At least 48 students were killed in a bomb blast on Monday at a government school in Potiskum, a town in Yobe state. The explosion occurred after nearly 2,000 students had gathered for morning assembly. The blast reportedly took place after a suicide bomber dressed in the school’s uniform detonated the bomb, said witnesses. Scores of students were reportedly admitted to Potiskum General Hospital, near the school. At least 79 people were also injured in the explosion.
Another 40 killed in Mubi – November 27
At least over 40 persons, including five soldiers and a local hunter, were reportedly killed after a bomb explosion that rocked Mararaba-Mubi area of Adamawa state.
Kano Central Mosque attack – November 29
At least 81 people were killed and 150 injured after two bombs exploded outside the central mosque in Kano. The attacks occurred outside the Emir’s Palace Mosque just as residents were into the area for prayers, police said. Witnesses said they heard gunshots but did not know who was shooting.
2 Female Suicide Bombers Kill 4 in Kano – December 10
Four people were feared dead when two female suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Kano, said Nigeria Police. The state’s police commissioner, Aderenle Shinaba said the explosions happened in the busy Kantin Kwari textile market in the centre of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city. The casualty figure does not include the suicide bombers. Seven people were injured, said Shinaba.
Gumsuri attack: Sect kills 35, abducts more than 180 – December 17
Boko haram militants have killed 35 people and kidnapped no fewer than 185, fleeing residents said yesterday of an attack in Borno State town Gumsuri, 20 kilometres to Chibok, where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April.
The attack on Gumsuri happened on Sunday (December 14) night, said a security official and a local government official, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. The news took days to emerge because the militants have destroyed communications towers in the area.