Boko Haram's massacre in Nigeria: what happened and why

January 10, 2015 7:08 PM

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No one knows for sure how many people the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram slaughtered during its six-day rampage in the northeastern town of Baga. A lone and speculative early report said 2,000 dead, though subsequent counts suggest "dozens" or "hundreds." But there is little question this is a massacre of breathtaking and possibly unprecedented severity, even for Boko Haram. If you zoom out, though, you can see that a crucial part of this story is the Nigerian military's repeated and demonstrated indifference to the lives of northern Nigerians.

Here is what appears to have happened: On Saturday, January 3, Boko Haram fighters in pickup trucks drove up to a military outpost in Baga. The Nigerian troops immediately began fleeing; Boko Haram captured the outpost by noon. In the next few days, the group raided surrounding villages, killing civ...

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