Islamophobia: it’s an international scourge. “Nigeria: Benisheik Attack Death Toll Now 161,” by Hamza Idris for the Daily Trust via AllAfrica.com, September 20:
Maiduguri “” Environmental officers yesterday recovered 87 more corpses of travelers killed by suspected Boko Haram gunmen during an attack on Maiduguri-Damaturu road near Benisheik town in Borno State on Tuesday.
This was in addition to 55 bodies earlier picked up on Wednesday, officials of the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) told journalists during a visit by Governor Kashim Shettima to the scene of the violence.
Heavily armed insurgents laid siege on Benisheik, Kaga Local Government Area on Tuesday evening, killing people and setting buildings ablaze.
They also blocked the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, three kilometers away from the town, sorting out and slaughtering dozens of travelers.
Apart from the 142 travellers, also killed in the attack were 2 soldiers, 3 policemen and 14 villagers,bringing the total death toll to 161.
Yesterday, Shettima visited Benisheik where he condoled with the people and offered compensation to victims of the violence.
Saidu Yakubu, a senior BOSEPA official, who briefed Shettima at the highway killing spot, later told journalists “87 bodies were recovered in the bush and our people are still searching for more.”
Environmental assistant Abdulaziz Kolomi said, “Apart from the dead bodies recovered today (Thursday), we collected 55 on Wednesday and the fact is that we did not go deep into the bush where I strongly believe that many people have fallen there.”
Our correspondent, who was in the convoy of the governor, saw two refuse compactor trucks loaded with decomposing bodies. Soldiers and policemen were seen providing security as environmental officers pull out dead bodies from the surrounding bushes.
During Shettima’s visit, he was told that apart from the dead travelers, two soldiers, three policemen and 14 villagers were also killed by the insurgents who stormed the town in a convoy of over 20 vehicles.
Shettima, who was visibly shaken by the carnage, urged the residents to persevere and stop fleeing.
“What happened is barbaric and un-Islamic,” he said….
Very well, Shettima. What are you doing to teach against Boko Haram’s understanding of Islam and make sure that more Muslims don’t fall prey to it?