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Boko Haram debuted on the Nigerian stage in 2002 and has been calling for an end to secular-based law, to be replaced with Islamic Sharia law. It has been fighting government forces and raiding villages ever since.
In 2010, they said they were fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north.
During the past five days, Boko Haram fighters have attacked and destroyed the villages of Njaba, Mude, and Kwaljiri in Borno. They burned Kaya village to the ground.
The Northern States Governors Forum Chairman Babangida Aliyu said in a statement:
The forum is particularly alarmed that the shooting dead of 18 persons in Njaba, Mude, Kwaljiri and Kaya villages in Borno followed the same pattern as previous midnight attacks on towns and villages in the region.
The government has since May 2013 escalated its campaign to rout Boko Haram fighters. However, the Islamist militia have shifted operations far into Nigeria’s north and retaliated by kidnapping and killing civilians.
In some villages, local leaders have been establishing their own defensive militia. But the costs have been high.
At least 12 members of a civilian militia group guarding the town of Benisheik in Borno died when they repelled an attack by the Boko Haram in September.
According to a state official, the clashes began when people in Benisheik heard that they were about to be attacked by the Boko Haram, and instead mounted an ambush of their own.
The Nigerian military had killed at least 50 Boko Haram militia a week prior.
The Nigerian army’s action comes in response to Boko Haram attacks which killed 20 people in the Gajiram and Bulablin villages in the country’s northeast.