Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather stated: “This weekend saw an inspiring and moving display of international solidarity in the wake of the Paris shootings,” she said, “but while we were watching the horror unfold in Paris, hundreds or possibly thousands of civilians were slaughtered by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, with very little international attention.”
Saturday’s suicide bombing elicited little coverage compared to the events in Paris, which have dominated headlines since last Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper. Why the slaughter of 17 innocents in France receives more attention than the death of roughly the same number of Nigerians is the kind of question that can result in accusations of indifference, racism, and media bias.
The attacks came five weeks before presidential elections, which are expected to trigger more bloodshed. The UN estimates more than 1.5 million people have been displaced by the insurgency.
The military said the massacre was Boko Haram’s deadliest in its five-year insurgency, but it added that the reports of 2,000 dead “cannot be true”. It suggested they were part of a smear campaign. “From all available evidence, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim. This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms,” army spokesman Chris Olukolade said, adding that there were ongoing ground and air offensives to retake the town.
Last year, around 27 Nigerians died each day from Boko Haram-related violence. Now the first march for Baga victims is being organised in Paris, where 1 million people poured on to the streets after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
In solidarity with the lives taken – #IamNigeria