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Boko Haram - 2013

Boko Haram said it was kidnapping local women and children in retaliation for the wives and children of their members who are being held by government and security officials. Sect leader Abubakar Shekau made the threat in the sect's video released 13 May 2013, which showed footage of a dozen unidentified women and children that he claims are hostages. Shekau said they will kidnap more. He said if they can't see their women and children, then no one will be allowed to enjoy his family. He said God allows them to consider all those they capture as slaves.

Boko Haram, has been expanding and intensifying its more than four-year-old insurgency, while other criminal and ethnic militias increasingly target security forces. On May 15, 2013 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northern Nigerian states and ordered the immediate deployment of more troops, in response to a surge of violence the president says poses a "very serious threat" to Nigeria's territorial integrity.

After the Nigerian government announced that militant group Boko Haram had agreed to a cease-fire, on July 14, 2013 Abubakar Shekau, the man believed to be the group’s leader, released a video denying the claim. While Shekau called for increased violence, possibly Boko Haram is fractured and some part of the group may have actually agreed to a cease-fire. The video released by Abubakar Shekau made considerable use of video editing tools, like a cartoon instant-camera printing a picture of Shekau, which spun around as it filled the screen. Shekau said the government’s announcement of a truce agreement was a “farce” and there will be no peace until Western-type schools are replaced with Islamic schools. He also called for the end of constitutional law and democracy. He praised the recent massacre of students and teachers in Yobe State, where as many as 42 people died when gunmen opened fire and threw explosives in a secondary school. Most of the victims were children.

On 15 October 2013, Amnesty International released the report "Nigeria: Deaths of Hundreds of Boko Haram Suspects in Custody Requires Investigation". AI reported that according to senior army officers, more than 950 persons died in military custody in the first six months of the year alone and, on average, the army killed nearly five persons daily at military detention centers holding persons suspected of membership in Boko Haram. A large proportion of these deaths reportedly occurred in Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State, and in Sector Alpha in Damaturu, Yobe State. Former detainees reportedly told AI that people died regularly of suffocation, starvation, lack of medical treatment, and extrajudicial executions. During an April 2013 visit, AI delegates discovered 20 emaciated corpses on the ground at the State Specialist Hospital mortuary in Maiduguri.

On 18 October 2013, the Associated Press (AP) published the report Nigeria’s Military Killing Thousands of Detainees. The report stated that according to records from the Sani Abacha Specialist Teaching Hospital in Maiduguri, thousands of detainees died in military custody in the government’s crackdown on the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast. One hospital alone allegedly listed 3,335 bodies delivered by the military during the first six months of the year. According to the AP, in June the military delivered 1,795 bodies, making it the worst month in the records seen by the AP. The number of dead with Boko Haram connections was impossible to determine. News reports stated the government and military refused to comment.

On November 13, 2013 the US Department of State announced the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. The consequences of the these FTO and E.O. 13224 designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, Boko Haram and Ansaru, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organizations that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons. The Department of State took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.

The media, politicians, local and international NGOs, and other observers, frequently argued that the government had been unable to curb widespread abuses by the Boko Haram insurgency because it had not provided a policy response that addressed underlying grievances or had not mounted an effective security response, or both. Observers argued that the government’s strategy had created a climate of impunity, whereby the civilian population was victimized by both Boko Haram and government forces.

During 2013 Boko Haram committed drive-by shootings and bombings; killed security personnel and civilians, including local officials, religious leaders, political figures, and the general public; bombed churches; coordinated attacks on police stations, military facilities, prisons, banks, and schools; and conducted suicide bombings, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of persons, including civilian deaths. The rate of violent deaths at the hands of Boko Haram increased during 2013 to record levels, surpassing the number of deaths during 2012. Estimates of the number of Boko Haram victims varied, but based on available data, casualties ranged from 338 to 497 from May to September 2012, and 717 to 925 for the same period during the year.

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Page last modified: 20-08-2014 19:45:32 ZULU