Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency that has claimed 3,000 lives since 2009
Boko Haram is fighting for stricter Sharia law in Nigeria's predominately Muslim north
Nigeria's military suspect Boko Haram was behind an attack on a college this week
At least 29 students were killed and several buildings torched in the Buni Yadi attack
Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northeastern Nigeria, particularly in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
The group’s ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law – which is derived from the Koran as the “world of God” – across the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria, to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government.
The Nigerian government is struggling to control the bloodshed between the mainly Muslim north and Christian south that has claimed more than 3,000 lives since Boko Haram came to prominence in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also accused Nigeria’s military of committing atrocities against civilians.
After raising concerns with Nigeria’s foreign minister last May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: “The government has acknowledged that there have been some problems … they’re working to try to control it.”
Days after a deadly attack on a college in northeastern Nigeria, which the military suspects may have been committed by Boko Haram, we look back at the past year of attacks blamed on – or claimed by – the group.
February 26, 2014: At least 29 students die in an attack on a federal college in Buni Yadi, near the the capital of Yobe state, Nigeria’s military says.
Authorities suspect Boko Haram carried out the assault in which several buildings were also torched.
February 15, 2014: Dozens of residents in northeastern Nigeria are killed in two separate attacks launched by Boko Haram, according to officials and residents.
They say scores of militants dressed in military uniforms storm the Christian farming village of Izghe, in Borno state, and open sporadic fire on residents, killing at least 106 people in an attack specifically targeting male residents.
In the second attack, suspected Boko Haram gunmen open fire on Doron Baga, a fishing village along Lake Chad. “They opened fire from all directions, forcing residents to jump into the lake in a bid to escape, and many drowned while others were gunned down,” a survivor says.
February 11, 2014: Suspected Boko Haram militants torch houses in the village of Konduga, killing at least 23 people, according to the governor of Borno state.
January 26, 2014: Militants open fire on a village market and burn homes in the village of Kawuri, killing at least 45 people, Borno state police commissioner Lawan Tanko says.
Tanko says the suspected Boko Haram members were on all-terrain vehicles and shot at people while traders were closing shop for the day.
December 2, 2013: Hundreds of Boko Haram militants attack an Air Force base and a military checkpoint in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, according to government officials.
November 13, 2013: French priest, Georges Vandenbeusch, is snatched from his parish church in Nguetchewe, Cameroon, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the Nigerian border. He is released at the end of the year.
October 20, 2013: Gunmen suspected of being members of Boko Haram attack motorists in northeastern Nigeria, killing four, authorities say. A Nigerian Army spokesman says the men – dressed in military clothing – launched the attack on a remote road in between Ikwa and Gamboru-Ngala in Borno State, close to the border of Cameroon.
September 29, 2013: Gunmen approach a dormitory at the College of Agriculture Gujba in Yobe state and open fire on sleeping students. At least 40 students die, local media says and a military spokesman says the evidence points to Boko Haram.
August 11, 2013: Gunmen attack a mosque in Konduga, Borno state, with automatic weapons, killing at least 44 people, a local police official says.
July 6, 2013: Gunmen storm a school in Yobe state, killing 20 students and a teacher, state media reports.
June 2013: An attack on another Yobe school takes the lives of seven students and two teachers, state news reports. Boko Haram claims responsibility, according to local media.
May 7, 2013: Two soldiers are killed in Bama, Borno state, during coordinated attacks on multiple targets. Nigeria’s military says more than 100 Boko Haram militants armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons mounted on vehicles carried out the attack. President Goodluck Jonathan says dozens of people were killed and police say at least 13 suspected militants were among the dead.
February 19, 2013: A French family of seven is kidnapped in Cameroon. Boko Haram releases a video of the hostages in which a spokesman demands that Nigeria and Cameroon free jailed members of its group. The family was later released.