Editorials

U.S., Europe intelligence agencies must do more to act against Boko Haram Islamic militants in Nigeria

This photo combo of images provided by Amnesty International on Thursday shows infrared satellite images of the village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria. The top image shows the village on Jan. 2, before it was allegedly attacked by members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. The bottom image, taken on Jan. 7, 2015, shows Doron Baga after the alleged attack. Amnesty International said that in the infrared images, where bright red indicates healthy trees and vegetation, more than 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed. Boko Haram fighters seized a military base in Baga on Jan. 3 and, according to witnesses, killed hundreds of civilians in the ensuing days.
This photo combo of images provided by Amnesty International on Thursday shows infrared satellite images of the village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria. The top image shows the village on Jan. 2, before it was allegedly attacked by members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. The bottom image, taken on Jan. 7, 2015, shows Doron Baga after the alleged attack. Amnesty International said that in the infrared images, where bright red indicates healthy trees and vegetation, more than 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed. Boko Haram fighters seized a military base in Baga on Jan. 3 and, according to witnesses, killed hundreds of civilians in the ensuing days. The Associate Press

The Western powers have stepped up efforts against terrorist threats in Belgium and to prevent slayings like those at Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

But the effort to root out Islamic militants shouldn’t overlook Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria. Last year they abducted 300 girls from a school in Nigeria. They’re suspected of using a 10-year-old girl to detonate a bomb this month at a Maiduguri market, killing at least 10 people and seriously injuring others. On Sunday, they attacked a village in Cameroon, killing three and kidnapping others. Cameroon’s army later freed 24 hostages. Separately, a Boko Haram suicide bomber killed four and injured 35 others in Potiskum.

Amnesty International last week released satellite images showing “indisputable and shocking evidence” of a Boko Haram attack on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga. The assaults left more than 3,700 structures damaged or destroyed. Amnesty International noted that the Boko Haram slaughter was “the largest and most destructive yet.”

U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies should increase resources aiding African security forces to prevent Boko Haram attacks and keep the militant group from spreading.

Human Rights Watch notes that schools have been burned and students and teachers killed. Boko Haram imposes a harsh form of Sharia law. It has battled the government for years and is tightening its hold on northern Nigeria.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, the United States and other countries have condemned the bloodshed, but more substantive action is required to end the suffering, stem the violence and drive out Boko Haram militants. Western powers need to be just as concerned about the growing, horrific threat in Nigeria as they are about the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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