Boko Haram targets Abuja…

Once again, the false security that we were enjoying in Abuja has been broken. I was just thinking last month that Abuja citizens had become too complacent with the Boko Haram threat. Security guards were negligent in their duties of checking cars and bags and police and military checkpoints had all but disappeared. But on a quiet Friday evening, twin blasts in separate parts of Abuja rocked the city. It is reported that 18 people were killed and scores injured as two suicide bombers detonated two blast in heavily trafficked areas. This is the first terrorist attack in Abuja since the Banex bombing in July 2014. The military has cracked down on Boko Haram and there are numerous reports that the insurgent group is on the run but the continued terrorist activity in Northeast Nigeria and these recent attacks show that Boko Haram is still able to cause fear and terror among Nigerians. It is also being reported that 34 people were killed in Northeast Abuja between Thursday and Saturday at the hands of Boko Haram.

While Boko Haram has said that it is against western education (a given by the name translation), it is unclear exactly what the group hopes to obtain by attacking innocent Nigerians. The recent bombings in Abuja have targeted car parks and markets, locations frequented by typical Nigerians – those racing home after a long day at work and the women selling food along the road. President Muhammadu Buhari declared during the presidential election that he would wipe Boko Haram off the map but he is finding it difficult because of low morale in the military and lack of equipment to track Boko Haram members.

I went out today to pick up a few groceries and found the city to be extremely quiet. Usually on a Saturday, Shoprite, the South African grocery store is jammed pack with shoppers and music is blaring from the children activity zone. And it’s often difficult to find parking. However, on this Saturday, the store was nearly empty and there were no children running around.  I was in and out in 20 minutes – a record time.

Once again, Boko Haram has shattered the false sense of security that we were living under in Abuja. The city is back on the edge as we pray that the military is able to get control of Boko Haram and save the innocent Nigerians that are dying at the hands of this insurgent group.

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