The violent Islamic sect Boko Haram marked three years (and some days) of escalating terror in Nigeria last weekend by attacking students of an agricultural university as they slept in their beds. These militants (who were allegedly called “freedom fighters” by a misguided European reporter a couple of years ago) entered into the student hostels during the night and began firing off shots into the darkness where the students slept. I am not a crying person but my body aches when I think of the number of young people who went to sleep and never saw morning, all for nothing. I cannot imagine the pain their families and friends must be going through. How anyone can justify the killing of young people is beyond me. The death toll stands at 40.
This was their second such attack in less than two weeks. In the beginning it seemed their targets were Christians and other representatives of “western” education, they have actually killed just as many Muslims and destroyed property irrespective of tribal, religious or other affiliation. In this last attack, every single student was Muslim. Several statesmen have been called out as being supporters of this group and although no conclusive evidence has so far been found, I don’t believe that they do not have support from some political elements. As the old, often-quoted saying goes there is no smoke without fire. Since the prison break in September 2010, over 700 people have been killed by the attacks and the government does not seem capable of tacking this issue, which at this point, the most critical problem facing northern Nigeria. Already people have begun moving south and into neighbouring Niger to escape the constant threat of death. Recent university graduates who are from other regions of Nigeria no longer want to take part in the Youth Corps program because of the fear of being sent to the north and dying in a bomb blast or other violent act and most graduates regularly seek re-deployment if sent there.
I hope the souls of these students and people killed by this sect find peace in the after life.