Boko Haram has been named the world’s deadliest terror group in 2014, ahead of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, according to a recent report by the Institute of Economics and Peace.
The terror group was responsible for 6,664 deaths in 2014, more than any other terrorist group in the world, according to the Global Terrorism Index. It said Islamic State had killed 6,073 people during the same period.
The Index, which tracks attacks globally, also said the Islamic State and Boko Haram were responsible for half of all global deaths attributed to terrorism. Both are known for singling out Christians in their attacks.
With the world’s attention on Paris and the 132 lives lost on 13 November, the radical Islamist group Boko Haram killed 49 people in two attacks in less than 48 hours in northern Nigeria.
On 17 November, 34 people lost their lives in a suicide attack in a busy vegetable market, in Yola, Adamawa State. Some 80 others were injured. The following day, 15 people were killed and 53 injured in twin blasts in a popular phone market in Nigeria’s main northern city of Kano. According to local sources, two female suicide bombers detonated their bombs.
In recent months, dozens of towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria, taken over by militants last year, have been liberated by the Nigerian military. But the situation is still volatile as the radical group has intensified suicide attacks both in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
A Christian woman, held captive last year in Boko Haram camps explains what happened as she tried to flee her town as it was taken by the militant group:
“As we were trying to escape, we met with [Boko Haram] on our way. They stopped us and asked, ‘Are you Christians or Muslims?’ We answered, ‘We are Christians’. They told us to lie down on the roadside.
“I heard them shooting a gun. I thought they were shooting in the air. But I soon realised that my husband and two sons were shot dead.”
The woman, along with other Christian women and children, were taken by Boko Haram and put in a house.
“We were about 30 women. We pleaded with them to let us go, but instead, they always terrified us. Sometime they came with guns and started shooting into the air.
“Sometimes, they put us into a narrow patch of ground at gunpoint and asked again: ‘Christians or Muslims, Christians or Muslims, Christians or Muslims?’ Just to terrify us.”
As the time went by, their captors transferred the women from one house to another.
“We kept begging them to let us go, but instead, they kept challenging us over our religion… When we told them we are farmers, they said, ‘You should join our religion so that you will not suffer, because all things will be brought to you. You will just cook and eat’.”
The living conditions, she said, were bad, and food scarce.
“They only gave us rice and oil, and it’s not enough for all,” she said. “Most of the time, it’s only the young ones who could eat. Some were just two-weeks-old and the oldest was 9-years-old.”
She escaped captivity following a military operation last November.
According to the UN, some 25,000 people have lost their lives in six years, due to the Boko Haram insurgency, while 2.5 million others have been displaced in the Lake Chad region since 2013.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.