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Nigeria’s army was warned of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram’s plan to kill hundreds of civilians in attacks on two north-eastern towns, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said Wednesday.wpid-Nigerian-Army2.jpg

Insurgents attacked the towns of Baga and Monguno in volatile Borno State earlier this month, indiscriminately shooting civilians, slitting their throats and razing down houses.

Military commanders in Baga had notified their headquarters in November and December of a threat of attacks and requested reinforcements, a senior military source told Amnesty on condition of anonymity.

Other military sources and witnesses said the military in Monguno had also been warned.

“It is clear from this evidence that Nigeria’s military leadership woefully and repeatedly failed in their duty to protect civilians of Baga and Monguno despite repeated warnings about an impending threat posed by Boko Haram,” said Amnesty Africa director Netsanet Belay.

Members of the Multinational Joint Task Force – a unit of soldiers from Chad, Niger and Nigeria, formed to combat Boko Haram – had also informed the Defence Ministry about impending attacks on Baga, according to military sources.

“This attack was expected because Boko Haram warned the inhabitants of Baga and surrounding villages almost two months ago that they would be coming to attack,” a military source told Amnesty.

In response, civilians had been fleeing the area in large numbers days and weeks before the attack.

“There was a warning. Everyone was aware,” a resident of Monguno told Amnesty.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful,” killed more than 3,000 people in Nigeria’s north this year alone.

When Boko Haram first launched attacks in 2009, it mainly targeted Christians, under the pretext of wanting to establish an Islamic state.

Since mid-2013, Boko Haram focused its attacks on government security agents as well as on Christian and Muslim civilians.



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