Boko Haram's Bloodiest Year Yet: Over 9,000 Killed, 1.5 Million Displaced, 800 Schools Destroyed in 2014
The Nigerian Security Network, an organization monitoring the casualties surrounding the Boko Haram insurgency, estimates that 2014 was the deadliest year so far in the terrorist group's five year insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.
According to World Bulletin, the monitoring group estimates that over 9,000 people have been killed as a result of Boko Haram violence in 2014, while over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes due to the conflict.
Additionally, the group estimates that 940 people were killed by insurgent attacks in just the month of November alone, while May saw the highest death toll of any month when over 4,000 deaths were tallied due to the violent insurgency.
Another estimation done by the Council for Foreign Relations found a similar number when it reported that over 10,340 deaths occurred from November 2013 to November 2014 due to Boko Haram violence. Boko Haram's death toll in that time matches that of a United Nations' estimation of the Islamic State terrorist group's death toll in Iraq of 10,733 in the same time span.
As Boko Haram attacks, bombings, shootings, farm raids and abductions have become quite a regular occurrence, one Nigerian senator is saying that the conflict has gotten so out of hand in his own state of Borno that people can not live their lives without fear.
"The violence has become so bad that people don't have lives anymore," Sen. Ahmed Zanna told NBC News. "They cannot got to their farms, they cannot go to their businesses. It dominates peoples' lives every single day. They have no help from the army, the people who are supposed to protect them. They are scared, and that fear is real."
As the group has become stronger in the last few years and has carried out more frequent attacks in the states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in addition to less frequent attacks in various areas of other Northern states, a local Borno police chief, who has witnessed the rise of the extremist group in his town of Maiduguri in 2009, attests that Boko Haram attacks in his own jurisdiction are starting to become a daily occurrence. He said that he is seeing more and more adolescent males being abducted and forced to become soldiers.
"Almost every day in 2014 was marred by deadly attack by Boko Haram, unlike previous years," Police Chief Alhaji Yusuf Hassan said. "The insurgents started abducting teenagers and young men as foot soldiers this year. We didn't have all these terrible things back in 2009."
Boko Haram became a household name in April when it made headlines by kidnapping 276 schoolgirls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok. The kidnapping spawned heightened international attention toward the group, as the creation of the popular #BringBackOurGirls movement gained support from many including First Lady Michelle Obama.
Along with the killings and abductions and the more than one million people displaced, the Coalition of Society Groups of Nigeria estimates that Boko Haram has also destroyed over 800 school buildings, halting education for over 194,000 students who have not been displaced.
Although Nigeria's general election is about two months away, many Nigerian politicians in the Northeast are skeptical that elections can be held in the region.
"It's rather insensitive to continue to talk about elections," Borno Governor Kashim Shettima told a private TV station. "In Borno alone, more than two million people have been internally displaced, while thousands have been killed."