Writing about the Middle East and Africa in the year 2016 unfortunately means writing about violence most of the time. You try to notice patterns in the violence or talk about the groups behind the violence and what their aims are, or how they could be stopped, or what the context of the violence is, that kind of thing. But there are some times when there’s really nothing to say and all you can do is the online equivalent of gasping and pointing.
This, it seems to me, is one of those times:
A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.
Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, according to survivors and soldiers at the scene just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in Nigeria’s northeast.
The shooting, burning and explosions from three suicide bombers continued for nearly four hours in the unprotected area, survivor Alamin Bakura said, weeping on a telephone call to The Associated Press. He said several of his family members were killed or wounded.
The violence continued as three female suicide bombers blew up among people who managed to flee to neighboring Gamori village, killing many people, according to a soldier at the scene who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.
Last week, Boko Haram also returned to Chibok, the scene of its 2014 abduction of over 200 schoolgirls, with a series of bombs that killed 13 people.
Boko Haram began its existence as a Kanuri fundamentalist movement resisting government corruption, Nigeria’s profound economic inequality, and what it perceived as a pernicious Western influence in Nigerian affairs. But it would be a disservice to the legitimate grievances that the Kanuri people, and other northern Nigerian Muslims, have with the Nigerian government to try to pin this monstrosity on them. At this point, it’s clear that Boko Haram is just in it for the body count.
I need your help to keep this blog going! Please read this and consider contributing something. Also, while you’re out there on the internet tubes, please consider liking this blog’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter! And please share my work with your friends/followers to help me grow the audience around here! Thank you!