AFRICANGLOBE – Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group that has been responsible for some of the more confounding terror attacks in recent memory, again shocked the world by killing three North Korean doctors in their home in northern Nigeria — slashing the throats of two of them and beheading a third.
The gruesome murders in Potiskum come just days after gunmen, also suspected of being from the group, shot and killed at least nine women giving polio vaccinations to children in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north.
As religious-based turmoil roils many parts of North and West Africa, with strict Islamists trying to exert their will, perhaps no group is as brutal and seemingly random as Boko Haram, which is likely responsible for at least 792 murders in 2012, according to a count by the AP.
The North Korean doctors were attacked inside their home in a quiet neighborhood, where they lived because there wasn’t any more room to board them at a local hospital, which might have afforded them more protection. Officials said the doctors didn’t have security at their residence and didn’t travel with police escorts. When soldiers arrived after the killings, the doctors’ wives were cowering in a flower bed outside. All three men were found inside with what appeared to be machete wounds, officials said.
Dr. Mohammed Mamman, chairman of the Hospital Managing Board of Yobe state, said the three doctors had lived in Potiskum since 2005 as part of a medical program between Yobe and the Pyongyang government. There are more than a dozen other doctors from North Korea in the program, in addition to engineers. Mamman said all will receive immediate protection from security forces.
“It is very unfortunate,” he said of the killings.
While Yobe state’s police commissioner, Sanusi Rufa, said officers had made 10 arrests, the AP pointed out that police in Nigeria routinely round up those living around the site of a crime, regardless of whether they are suspected of the crime.
According to one report, Boko Haram has been carrying out vicious attacks in Potiskum over the past two years, sometimes killing dozens at a time.
Because clerics once claimed that vaccinating young girls was part of a Western plot to sterilize them, there has been some opposition to the vaccinations and anger directed at immunization drives, which could explain Boko Haram targeting the nurses. But as a result of the opposition to the vaccinations, Nigeria is one of the few nations where polio is still considered endemic.
By; Nick Chiles