Local News

Thousands feared killed in Boko Haram massacre

Photo of the displaced children after Boko Haram's deadly raid in Nigeria. PHOTO:AAP.
Children, women and elderly people who couldn't run away fast enough when Islamist extremists stormed their town were among an estimated 2,000 killed in a bloody massacre that went almost unreported last week.
Hundreds of bodies are reportedly still lying in the bush in the wake of what Amnesty International is describing as “the deadliest massacre” in the history of Nigerian-based terror group Boko Haram, which became well-known after kidnapping almost 300 schoolgirls last year.
While the extent and nature of the massacre is horrifying, it was all but ignored by most of the world, which was focussed on the Paris terror attacks and sieges that saw 17 people die and caused widespread fear.
In Nigeria, witnesses described how militants stormed the north-eastern town of Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles at residents and leaving a trail of carnage. Most of the victims, they said, were children, women and the elderly. Another 30,000 people were said to have fled their homes.
"The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous," Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for a poorly-armed defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press.
There have been calls from African church leaders and terrorism experts for the West to pay attention to the attacks and warnings that Boko Haram may expand into Europe and elsewhere.
According to The Guardian, the lack of attention to Boko Haram's 2015 massacre is likely down to a few factors.
Firstly, the nearest journalists are hundreds of kilometres away and media have been targeted by the terror group. There are also very poor and sometimes non-existent internet connections and communication in the region.
Furthermore, African leaders did not speak out about the atrocity – even though some openly sent their condolences to France. There's a reluctance to acknowledge conflict in the lead up to next month's elections.
But perhaps the most uncomfortable suggestion is that racism plays a part: that African lives and news are less important. As Simon Allison, of the Daily Maverick, puts it, "it may be the 21st century, but African lives are still deemed less newsworthy – and, by implication, less valuable – than western lives".
Boko Haram, which often flies the same or a similar flag to Daesh (also known as ISIS, ISIL or IS), blames Western education for Nigeria’s corruption, immorality and poverty.
What is 'Daesh'?
In recent weeks, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he will use the term 'Daesh' now instead of 'Isil death cult' when referring to the Islamic State terrorist organisation.
Australia's allies in the Middle East have reportedly encouraged the move saying that the terrorist group reportedly loathe the moniker Daesh – which is also an acronym, but of the Arabic words that mean the same thing as ISIS: Al Dawla al-Islamyia fil Iraq wa'al Sham.
Pronounced Da'ish – with a long emphasis on the long "e" – Mr Abbott aims to further neuter the term by mispronouncing it "Dash".
"Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive ­appeal to me," the Australian prime minister told the Herald Sun.
"I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself [Islamic State], because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance."
Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Huffington Post that the word Daesh in Arabic "sounds like something monstrous" and is a way of "stigmatising" the organisiation.
The terror group's leaders have threatened to "cut out the tongues" of those who refer to them as Daesh or DAIISH, according to international media reports.
In a move that is aimed at legitimising the group and removing the word "Islamic" from their title French president, François Hollande, is also pushing the use of Daesh when referring to the group.

read more from