NIGERIA'S ISLAMIST SECT BOKO HARAM KILLED AT LEAST 935 PEOPLE 2009
The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed at least 935 people since it launched an uprising in 2009, including more than 250 in the first weeks of this year, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, Jan 24.
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful" in the Hausa language spoken in northern Nigeria, is loosely modeled on Afghanistan's Taliban. It has claimed responsibility for bombing churches, police stations, military facilities, banks and beer parlours in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.
The sect focuses its attacks mostly on the police, military and government, but has recently increased its attacks on Christian institutions. It says it is fighting enemies who have wronged its members through violence, arrests or economic neglect and corruption.
Bomb attacks and gun battles in Nigeria's second largest city, Kano, killed 186 people on January 20, in Boko Haram's most deadly attack to date. Gunfire was heard in Kano early on Tuesday, witnesses said.
"Boko Haram's attacks show a complete and utter disregard for human life," said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"The Nigerian authorities need to call a halt to this campaign of terror and bring to justice those responsible for planning and carrying out these reprehensible crimes."
The report said 550 people were killed in 115 separate attacks by Boko Haram last year, mostly in the far northeastern state of Borno, where the sect was founded in 2002, Reuters reported.
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