“Boko Haram Rebels Seize a Town in Nigeria”
The New York Times, July 22, 2014, p. A11
“A major town in Nigeria’s troubled northeast has been taken over by Boko Haram in what local officials said was perhaps the Islamist militant sect’s most significant victory yet in a five-year campaign of violence and terror. As many as 15,000 people, or nearly all of the residents, have fled the town of Damboa after it was attacked over the weekend, officials said, leaving behind dozens of bodies in the streets and the Islamists’ black flag flying overhead. Officials said at least 100 people were killed in the attack. … The takeover of Damboa was the latest defeat for a Nigerian military that has proved unable to stem repeated attacks on civilians by Boko Haram this year. ‘Honestly, they were completely routed,’ one official in the area said of the latest attack, asking not to be identified because of the danger of retribution by the military. Human Rights Watch said last week that an estimated 2,053 people have been killed by the insurgents in the first six months of this year alone.”
Quickie Analysis: Incremental body counts in places less accessible to camera crews do not seem to generate the same world concern as a passenger plane in Ukraine or explosions in the Middle East. Yet it is worth remembering that this situation presents not only a grave security and human rights problem, it is occurring in a country poised to overtake the US as the world’s 3rd most populous.