Air Strike Mistakenly Targets Nigerian Refugee Camp

WORLD

Targeting Boko Haram, a Nigerian air force jet mistakenly bombed a camp for displaced people, killing up to 100 and injuring dozens more. (BBC and New York Times)

What is Boko Haram?

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit, including a link to today’s simple MapMaker Interactive locator map.

Nigeria has more than a million displaced people within its borders, and more than 200,000 outside. These internally displaced people are at the central Nigerian village of Fadan Atakar. Photograph by Ed Kashi, National Geographic

Nigeria has more than a million displaced people within its borders, and more than 200,000 outside. These internally displaced people are at a facility in the central Nigerian village of Fadan Atakar.
Photograph by Ed Kashi, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • The Nigerian military accidentally bombed a camp for displaced people while targeting Boko Haram militants. What is Boko Haram? Take a look at our study guide for some help.
    • Boko Haram, which President Barack Obama called “one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations” in the world, aims to make northern Nigeria an Islamist state. The organization formerly had alleged links to al-Qaida and now openly aligns itself with the Islamic State. In fact, Boko Haram is also known as ISWAP—the Islamic State West Africa Province.
      • Boko Haram has carried out violent attacks, suicide bombings, prison breaks, abductions and kidnappings (most notably, 276 schoolgirls from Chibok), and torture and human rights abuses.
      • In addition to northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram has also carried out attacks in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

 

  • Why does Nigeria have refugee camps?
    • The people in the camp near Rann, like most displaced people in Nigeria, are not refugees fleeing conflict in a foreign country. These are internally displaced people (IDPs) fleeing the violence and oppression of Boko Haram and collateral damage from the Nigerian government’s war with the terrorists.
      • There are about 1.8 million IDPs in Nigeria, down from 2.1 at the height of the conflict a couple years ago.
      • About 200,000 Nigerians have fled the country and are living as refugees in the neighboring nations of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
      • Between IDPs and refugees, about 2.7 million people have been displaced by the conflict.

 

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-4-56-43-pmNigeria's Insurgent North

  • How did the Nigerian government make the mistake of targeting the refugee camp instead of the Boko Haram outpost? Take a look at today’s MapMaker Interactive map of Rann and compare it with the map of “Nigeria’s Insurgent North” above.
    • A spokesman for the Nigerian military said that some ‘remnants’ of Boko Haram had been detected outside Rann and the military had acted to eliminate them.”
    • The overwhelming number of Boko Haram conflict has taken place in Nigeria’s northeast, exactly where the strike took place. In fact, according to the New York Times, “Rann is known as a hotbed of Boko Haram activity … Late last month, a military post near Rann was attacked in a battle that lasted three hours, an indication of the strength and firepower of militants in the area.”
    • According to Doctors Without Borders, “The conflict in Borno State started in 2009 when Boko Haram launched attacks … By 2014, the group controlled large swathes of territory in Borno State, including Maiduguri, the state capital.”
    • In 2016, the government launched an aggressive campaign against the terrorists, and the army has since taken back many cities and villages. The Nigerian military has been joined in this operation by military troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin.

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

BBC: Nigeria air strike error kills up to 100 in refugee camp

New York Times: Nigerian Jet Mistakenly Bombs Refugee Camp, Killing Scores

Nat Geo: What is Boko Haram?

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: About the Nigerian Crisis

Doctors Without Borders: Nigeria

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