Boko Haram terrorists have ramped up attacks and suicide bombings in the Lake Chad region, killing at least 381 civilians in Nigeria and Cameroon since April 2017, Amnesty International announced on Tuesday.
The high death toll can be attributed to the terrorist group’s increased use of suicide bombers, many of whom are women and girls, according to Amnesty International.
In Nigeria, Borno and Adamawa States have been most severely impacted by the surge in attacks, while the Far North region in Cameroon has faced a similar rise in suicide bombing incidents.
Amnesty International estimates that at 223 Nigerians have been killed in attacks since April, with 100 killed in August alone. Boko Haram has abducted 67 people, mostly young women and girls, in Nigeria in the same time frame.
The deadliest attack in Nigeria since April was on July 25, when terrorists killed 40 people on an oil exploration mission in the Magumeri area of Borno State.
In Cameroon, no fewer than 158 civilians have been killed since April. The deadliest attack in Cameroon during the time frame took place in Waza on July 12 when a suicide bomber killed 16 people and injured 34 others.
“Boko Haram is once again committing war crimes on a huge scale, exemplified by the depravity of forcing young girls to carry explosives with the sole intention of killing as many people as they possibly can,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Director for West and Central Africa.
Millions of civilians across the Lake Chad region are in need of humanitarian assistance, the organization said, and at least 2.3 million people have been displaced from their homes.
“This wave of shocking Boko Haram violence, propelled by a sharp rise in suicide bombings, highlights the urgent need for protection and assistance for millions of civilians in the Lake Chad region. Governments in Nigeria, Cameroon and beyond must take swift action to protect them from this campaign of terror,” Amnesty International said.
In Nigeria alone, over 1.6 million people have been internally displaced, while 303,000 have been internally displaced in Cameroon.
The group added that over 7 million people across the Lake Chad region are facing severe food shortages, including 5 million in Nigeria.
“Governments across the Lake Chad region must increase their efforts to protect the hundreds of thousands of civilians at grave risk of being targeted by Boko Haram violence, abductions and abuses,” said Alioune Tine.
“Meanwhile, the international community should also rapidly scale up its commitment to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the millions in the region who need it.”