A series of blasts killed at least 44 people in Nigeria over the weekend in what looks to be the latest string of Boko Haram murders. One of the bombs exploded outside of a mosque during a Ramadan sermon, and another blew up in a restaurant. A third blast went off inside a church, and another targeted a major thoroughfare being used by a number of Muslim families.
The weekend violence primarily occurred in the cities of Jos, in central Nigeria, and Potiskum, in the northeast of Nigeria. Jos had been attacked last year by Boko Haram in a notorious attack that claimed over 100 lives. The blast in Potiskum — which occurred at Redeemer Christian Church of God — took the lives of a priest and four worshippers, including a woman and her two children.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but experts say they bear all the signs of Boko Haram. The jihadist group — which pledged its loyalty to ISIS this past March — has attacked Potiskum four other times previous to this attack. Those attacks killed upwards of 20 people.
This weekend's attacks come at the end of one of Nigeria's bloodiest weeks yet at the hands of Boko Haram. The terror group, based in northern Nigeria, had just carried out attacks on northeastern Nigerian villages that claimed the lives of over 150 people — mostly Muslims. The attacks are part of Boko Haram's aim of creating an Islamic caliphate in the image of ISIS. Like Boko Haram, ISIS has killed scores of Muslims deemed too lax in the practice of their faith or too wavering in their loyalty. Both organizations practice a rigorous level of Sharia law and have taken underage girls as slaves.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned last week's attacks as "inhuman and barbaric." He vowed that every "Boko Haram bandit ... would be hunted down without mercy and compromise." The recently elected president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram, but military efforts to stop the bloodshed have failed thus far.
The United States condemned the recent Boko Haram attacks in an official statement:
"As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror. The United States continues to provide counterterrorism assistance to help Nigerian authorities develop a comprehensive approach to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram."
Boko Haram made major headlines in the Western world last year when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the city of Chibok. The kidnapping spawned the twitter slogan, #BringBackOurGirls. Since the 2014 kidnappings, Boko Haram has received less than its share of media attention in the West — even as its recent atrocities rival those committed by the Islamic State.