< Previous Page
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday described Boko Haram as one of the most vicious terrorist organizations in the world, speaking at a meeting with Jonathan at which both reaffirmed their commitment to fight terrorism.
The Islamic extremists have killed at least 30 other civilians in the past week, including a pastor and his son. And the military said it killed more than 100 militants and lost 16 soldiers in an attack on an extremist stronghold Sept. 21-22.
Human rights groups have accused Nigeria’s military of summary killings of civilians in reprisal attacks and no one knows the fate of hundreds of people detained as suspected militants.
Meanwhile, farmers and government officials are fleeing threats of imminent attacks from Boko Haram in the area of the Gwoza Hills, a mountainous region with caves that shelter the militants despite repeated aerial bombardments by the military.
A local government official said there had been a series of attacks in recent weeks. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said Gwoza town was deserted when he visited it briefly under heavy security escort on Thursday.
He said militants had chased medical officers from the government hospital in Gwoza, which had been treating some victims of attacks, and torched three public schools.
More than 30,000 people have fled to neighboring Cameroon and Chad and the uprising combined with the military emergency has forced farmers from their fields and vendors from the markets.
The attacks come as Nigeria prepares to celebrate 53 years of independence from Britain on Tuesday and amid political jockeying in the run up to presidential elections next year. Many northern Muslim politicians say they do not want another term for Jonathan, who is from the predominantly Christian south.
Faul reported from Lagos, Nigeria. Associated Press writer Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.