The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram killed at least 2,053 civilians in the first six months of this year in an increasing number of attacks that may constitute crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.
Boko Haram carried out 95 attacks that included bombings on more than 70 towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria, New York-based Human Rights Watch said today in a statement. The figures were based on analysis of media reports and field investigations, it said.
“Boko Haram is effectively waging war on the people of northeastern Nigeria at a staggering human cost,” Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “Atrocities committed as part of a widespread attack on civilians are crimes against humanity, for which those responsible need to be held to account.”
Boko Haram has been fighting since 2009 to impose Islamic law on Africa’s biggest oil producer. In April, it kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in the northeastern state of Borno. Boko Haram detonated at least three bombs this year in the capital, Abuja, killing more than 100 people, and claimed responsibility for a June explosion in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub.
“There has been a dramatic increase during 2014 in the numbers of casualties from bomb blasts, including several apparent suicide bombings,” Human Rights Watch said.
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