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Boko Haram Accused of Massacring Fish Sellers, as Nigerian Government Ends State of Emergency

The militant group reportedly killed nearly 100 people in two attacks in northeastern Nigeria last week.
November 24, 2014, 2:30pm
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Boko Haram have reportedly killed 48 fish traders near Nigeria's border with Chad, the second massacre in two days by the militant group waging an Islamist insurgency in the oil rich West African nation.

Some had their throats slit, while others were tied up and drowned in Lake Chad, according to local reports. The traders were on their way to buy fish in Chad, which they would bring back to Nigeria to sell.

The attack reportedly took place last Thursday near Doron Baga in Borno state, 112 miles north of Maiduguri. Information was slow to emerge, partly because the militant group have reportedly destroyed the mobile phone masts in the region.

Amnesty International's Nigeria researcher, Mausi Segun, told VICE News: "The attack on Dogon Baga is one of Boko Haram's almost-daily brutal attacks on north-east Nigerian communities in the last few months."

Segun said that according to reports on the latest case, "the insurgents appeared to be careful not to arouse the attention of the regional multi-national force MNJTF which is based in Baga, by avoiding the use of guns in killing their victims and destroying the telephone infrastructure to prevent information reaching the base in time for intervention."

The researcher added that Boko Haram had also been known to destroy roads and bridges to hamper security forces in their pursuit.

The attack was not the only atrocity allegedly committed by the fighters last week.

At least 45 people were killed in another attack on Wednesday on Azaya Kura village, north-eastern Nigeria. A resident of the village, Bakura Moh', told Reuters: "They tied peoples' hands behind their backs and slit their throats like animals."

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A military source said that the killings were a reprisal attack, conducted to avenge four Boko Haram members who had been killed by soldiers in a gunfight in the village's market.

The group's stated intention is to set up a caliphate in the north of the country. They have killed at least 3,000 people since the beginning of the year.

Borno state, along with the Adamawa and Yobe states in northeastern Nigeria have been in a government-declared state of emergency since May 2013. However, last week the Nigerian House of Representatives rejected President Goodluck Jonathan's request to extend it for a fourth time.

The chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mohammed Zakari, said: "In anything you are doing, you should be able to take stock; you will be able to see whether or not that action you are taking is yielding results.

"We will be doing more good if Mr President relies on that more. Because if we are adopting a particular style and it is not giving us the desired result, we should be able to change it."

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The Nigerian government has repeatedly come under fire from both citizens and the international community for not doing enough to tackle Boko Haram, which has been active in Nigeria for the past five years.

Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Tanimu Turaki, Nigeria's Minister of Special Duties, said: "The government is doing a lot. And the government is really trying the best it can in all circumstances to try to ensure that the lives of Nigerians are respected."

He stressed that President Jonathan — who recently launched his reelection campaign — would not "condescend so low as to begin to speak to the soldiers. Certainly the Nigerian president would not do that.

"But there are a lot of tiers, they are leveled at the security levels, and even at the ministerial levels... We are still engaging some of them that are willing to key into the dialogue process. We are still talking to them."

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