Nigeria is still reeling after a murderous terrorist attack in the northeastern state of Yobe, where Boko Haram Muslim marauders killed more than 40 students at the government-operated Buni-Yadi college. In the February 25 attack, Muslim terrorist spared girls but set a dormitory alight and burned to death the boys sleeping there. Any who managed to escape the flames were mercilessly killed.
In response, Nigeria’s Senate ordered army chief of staff Major General Kenneth Minimah to move his headquarters temporarily to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. Borno, along with Yobe and Adamawa, are the three states where a state of emergency was declared in May 2013 to allow the military to better defend the country against the Islamist Boko Haram raiders. Major General Minimah was also directed to shore up security measures in schools where Boko Haram violence has been prevalent. The Muslim terrorist attacks on schools, police, and Christian churches and individuals has caused thousands of Nigerians to seek refuge in neighbouring Niger, where their situation is very precarious.
Emanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian-American attorney and a long-term observer of the persecution of Christians in his native country, wrote an emailed response to Spero News in which he described the anguish of the Nigerian people. “There is a deep sense of national outrage in Nigeria right now and there are protests in the capital city of Abuja against the insecurity probably for the first time.” Referring to the devastated school in Yobe, he added, “The Federal government school attracted students from around the country, so the impact reverberates across the nation. The senate's action reflects popular opinion right now.”
Ogebe suggested actions that must be taken:
“1. The army needs to convert this to conventional warfare, evacuate the civilian population, isolate the insurgents and conduct symmetrical combat with Boko Haram. The current urban/rural guerrilla warfare is simply unsustainable in given the huge civilian casualties and insurmountable in terms of containment.”
“2. A human impact and humanitarian crisis response for refugees and internally displaced persons is imperative. With Nigerian citizens living underneath trees in Niger and on mountain sides in Cameroun, the government is behind militarily and even in relief response.”
“3. US and the international community should provide actionable satellite intelligence to help Nigeria track and preempt these barbaric attackers.”
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.