See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Nigerians Blast Government's Response (or Lack Thereof) to Boko Haram's Baga Massacre

A screenshot from a propaganda video showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Public Domain photo from Voice of America.

A screenshot from a propaganda video showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Public Domain photo from Voice of America.

In recent weeks, Boko Haram has intensified its campaign of violence in Nigeria. The Islamic jihadist militant movement based in northeast Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Niger, responsible for thousands of deaths in the last several years, attacked Baga, a small town in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

Amnesty International describes it as the deadliest in Boko Haram's history, with about 2,000 killed: 

“The attack on Baga and surrounding towns, looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act in a catalogue of increasingly heinous attacks carried out by the group. If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as two thousand civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

However, the Nigerian Defense Headquarters countered that the death toll was exaggerated. Major General Chris Olukolade, spokesman for the military, said in a statement that the Baga deaths did not exceed 150 people:

…As you might be aware, there was another terror attack on the town of Baga in Borno state last week which left a number of people dead. Following that unfortunate attack, a lot of speculations and conjectures have been peddled by a section of the press particularly the on-line media regarding the casualty rate. Some claimed that over a thousand people were killed while others wrote with certainty that 2000 people lost their lives in that singular attack. […] From all available evidences, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim. This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms and got killed in the course of their attack and battle with troops.

The general also took to fact-checking images circulating on social media, claiming to be of Baga following the attack: 

The news of the Baga massacre, the delayed response by the government and the subsequent contention on the actual number of deaths drew the ire of Nigerian netizens. Chxta thought the number of deaths are inconsequential as long as its human life:

Chxta's position was concurred by Jeremy Weate, a Lagos-based publisher:

Blossom, a blogger, was equally irked with the lack of empathy by the government: 

Author, Chika Unigwe, was angry that the authorities were more concerned about the number of deaths rather than protecting her citizens:  

Gege was muffled by the late response from the military: 

Musician elDee lampooned the media aides of the presidency: 

Onye Nkuzi flayed President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: 

 AyoDee thought the opposition APC (All Progressives Congress) is playing politics with the tragedy: 

Babajide dismissed the politics of the ruling the Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress, pointing rather to the lives lost: 

Tunji Landers captures the sentiments on the horror and numbness of the continuous killings of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram: 

Boko Haram controls towns and villages in an area the size of Belgium. The town of Baga happens to be the location of the military base used by a multinational force set up to fight them.

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

Learn more about Global Voices »

Donate now

Close