Terrorist attacks by Nigerian-based Islamist organization Boko Haram in dozens of villages have resulted in turning thousands of innocent civilians into refugees in less than three months since the start of 2014, according to a press statement released on Friday by the New York City-based Human Rights Watch.
Boko Haram (translated: "Western or non-Islamic education is a sin") is a controversial Islamist group that seeks the imposition of Shariah law in the northern states of Nigeria. The group's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad,"according to an Examiner news story.
According to the HRW report, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians are fleeing from their homes due to the deadly violence and destruction that occurs when the Islamists and the government soldiers and police officers engage in fierce combat. These displaced men, women and children have sought refuge throughout Nigeria and in neighboring African countries with the hope of avoiding being caught by the ruthless terrorists or ending up trapped in the crossfire between government security forces and Boko Haram.
For example, the killing of a popular Christian pastor occurred shortly after Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan, "declared a state of emergency in the most troubled states in the northeast part of the country where Boko Haram is believed strongest," according to an Examiner report.
"Since 2010, Islamists have perpetrated drive-by shootings and suicide bombings that have killed 1,548 people. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sacrilege," has said it wants its imprisoned Islamists released and for the current Nigerian government to institute Sharia law throughout the nation," the Examiner reported.
"The Nigerian government should immediately investigate the killings and step up efforts to rescue people who have been abducted, while ensuring civilian protection, and safeguard the rights of the displaced," declared Human Rights Watch officials in their press statement.