While media outlets have been largely focused this week on the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo and the two police officers who defended it, an even larger outburst of terrorist activity has laid waste to Baga, a border city in Eastern Nigeria. Amnesty International and government spokesman Mike Omeri have confirmed that an attack on the city by Islamist militant group Boko Haram might be the “deadliest massacre” in the history of the group’s long list of attacks. Insurgents took hold of a key military base on Jan. 3 and hit once more on Wednesday. The Associated Press reported Saturday that “hundreds of bodies… remain[ed] strewn in the bush” as of Friday morning.
… With terror reports from several different corners of the world all colliding in the span of a few short weeks, it would be easy to miss something small — but the Nigerian threat has a well-documented history: since 2009, Boko Haram has increasingly escalated its number of attacks on police and military, politicians, schools, religious buildings, public institutions, and civilians, according to a report by the Council on Foreign Relations. It is estimated that some 5,000 have been killed in Boko Haram related violence since then.
So why aren’t we talking about it? No one tragedy is more important or devastating than the next, but to scale, the crisis in Nigeria is far deeper than most — and it has begun to fester. How many deaths equate to one minute of screen time in the mainstream media? Ten? Twenty? One hundred? One Thousand?
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Image: European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr