This past week, Nigeria and Cameroon experienced a number of suicide bombings that left at least 60 dead. All of these suicide bombers are believed to have been young girls aging from eleven to eighteen. The terrorist organization Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility, but many are convinced of its involvement.
Unfortunately, suicide bombing is neither a new nor uncommon phenomenon in these cities. A suicide bombing that killed 30 in Yola, Nigeria last Thursday was preceded by another suicide bombing in a nearby mosque a month ago. Maiduguri, also in Nigeria, has been battling these terrorists attacks as part of the aftermath of Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency in the region. Last Sunday Maiduguri experienced its seventh suicide bombing of the year.
Just as the frequency of these deadly attacks has increased, so too has the range of people affected broadened. This weekend, in Fotokol, a Cameroonian town by the Nigerian border, four female suicide bombers killed themselves and a family of five when stopped by local vigilantes. No one is claiming responsibility for these attacks, but most experts suspect the Boko Haram. Boko Haram’s influence grows as Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger join the fight to protect their countries against its attacks.
It may seem like Boko Haram is a contained problem–one for Nigeria and West Africa to deal with independently. But to put things in perspective, Boko Haram has killed more people than ISIS, to which it also pledges its allegiance. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon states that “The continuing violence of Boko Haram is an affront to international law [and] to humanity.” The terror that is becoming familiar in West Africa challenges human rights and international law and is therefore a battle to be fought by every nation.
by Christa Sowah ‘17