Two back to back car bomb blasts last Saturday have killed at least 50 in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, according to a Red Cross official on site. The city is known to be the origin destination of the Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group causing chaos in the north of Nigeria for the past five years.
The first explosion did not cause much damage. It was when many rushed to the first scene to help that the second blast came from a large pick up truck. This instantly killed many and left others in the rubble of buildings that came down due to the blast.
The man driving the first, smaller car survived the blast but did not get far before survivors took hold of him. Before bringing him to the same hospitals as his victims, Nigerian vigilante leaders beat him. The man’s involvement with Boko Haram has yet to be confirmed.
Boko Haram has taken the credit for many acts of violence against civilians in Nigeria, like an attack on a school that killed nearly 30 children, but the group has yet to claim the attacks on Maiduguri. The goal of the Boko Haram is to rid Nigeria, and the rest of the Eastern world, of Western culture and teachings.
The group has been unrelenting and unafraid in the attacks on Nigeria. The group has struck schools, offices and even the U.N. buildings in the capital, Abuja. Smaller, but no less tragic, killings have taken place on the streets and at weddings.
Tensions are rising between the Nigerian people and their president, Goodluck Jonathan. The people are seeing their neighbors, colleagues, spouses and children slaughtered by an extremist group who the military cannot seem to control. President Jonathan has taken measures against the insurgency, but many feel it is not enough.
Last week, the south eastern border to Cameroon was closed to prevent Boko Haram members from staging attacks and then crossing over the border to safety. The government offensive has also been raiding caves and forests known to hold members. Previous to the city car bomb attack that killed 50 people, Boko Haram has focused its activities in the rural areas of Nigeria. The city attack is be believed to be a retaliation for the government’s military action against the group in their country hideouts.
The military offensive is not only non-effective. Reports of air strikes against the Boko Haram are actively injuring and killing civilians as well. In the Daglun Village the strikes meant to be an attack against Boko Haram ended up killing as many as 20 civilians.
President Jonathan and his officials commented only that they were unaware of the casualties in Daglun. A state of emergency was put on the Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states last year, but this seemed only to fuel more Boko Haram attacks.
Since President Jonathan faces reelection in 2015, the action he takes against Boko Haram may decide the fate of his political career. Many critics feel, based largely on his response to terrorism, it is time for Mr. Jonathan to step down. After another 50 people have been killed by the city car bomb attack, the Nigerian people long for the victorious end of Boko Haram.
By Erin P. Friar