Suspected Islamic extremists are on the rampage in northern Nigeria, recently attacking a mosque, police facility and a crowded market, killing more than 100 innocent people. The terrorist strikes are a blow both to the communities attacked and the civilized world as a whole.
Early December 1, insurgents entered Damaturu, capital of Yobe state in northeastern Nigeria, attacking a police station and sending students at a local university fleeing into the countryside. The same day, suicide bombers killed dozens in a crowded market in Maiduguri. On November 28, an attack on the central mosque in Kano killed at least 100.
While no group has taken responsibility for the attacks, the pattern of the strikes mirrors those favored by Boko Haram. Since 2009, when it began a campaign to overthrow the Nigerian government and replace it with a regime based on its own peculiar interpretation of Islamic law, the group has wreaked death and destruction across much of northern Nigeria. The group’s insurgency has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
At first targeting police and other government officials and facilities, Boko Haram has broadened its attacks to include churches, mosques, schools, media outlets, markets and other civilian sites, leaving a trail of blood wherever it strikes. It drew international outrage this summer by kidnapping more than 200 young school girls. It offered them as hostages for Boko Haram fighters being held by the government, and later threatened to sell them. The girls are still missing.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms all terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in northeastern Nigeria. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured. These attacks again show Boko Haram’s disregard for human life as it continues in its efforts to destabilize Nigeria.
We stand with the Nigerian people in their struggle against violent extremism and the threat of terrorism and we affirm our ongoing commitment to work with all Nigerians to combat these atrocities.