Boko Haram Killed 3,500 in West Africa This Year, Group Says

boko haram
Burned out cars are seen after retreating Boko Haram set them alight in the city of Yola in Adamawa province, Nigeria.
Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Boko Haram has killed 3,500 civilians in its home base of Nigeria and bordering countries this year even as a regional offensive has driven the Islamist militants from large tracts of territory, Amnesty International said.

Almost half of those killings, about 1,600, took place over the past four months, the London-based rights group said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May, has ordered security forces to put an end to Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency by year-end. The troops are backed by a multinational force combining soldiers from Cameroon, Chad and Niger -- nations that have faced attacks by Islamist fighters. Benin has also promised to send troops.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin," is seeking to impose its strict version of Islamic law in Africa’s most populous nation and biggest oil producer.

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