12 December 2013

Nigeria: Updated Timeline of Boko Haram Attacks and Related Violence

Photo: Premium Times
Boko Haram

Dakar — Despite a fierce crackdown on insurgent group Boko Haram by Nigerian security forces, violence in northeastern Nigeria has not abated. Over 100 people have been killed in attacks in recent weeks, and some fear the violence will only worsen as the 2015 elections approach. Thousands of troops have been fighting Boko Haram in the north since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May 2013. Rights groups have accused all involved - Boko Haram, the government's Joint Task Force and civilian vigilante groups - of carrying out human rights abuses, putting civilians at risk of violence from all sides.

Below is a chronology of known or suspected BH attacks over the past several years.

9 December 2013: The Nigerian Human Rights Commission summons security chiefs over the 19 September killings of eight squatters in a raid on an incomplete building in the Apo area of Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan lends support to the creation of an African rapid reaction force, which could help tackle the BH insurgency.

6 December 2013: An Abuja Federal High Court orders Nigeria's inspector general of police to produce three policemen being detained over alleged BH membership.

5 December 2013: Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, makes a financial donation to the families of 20 fishermen killed by BH in Kukawa District, on the border with Chad.

4 December 2013: The Nigerian army admits holding 1,400 suspected BH members for months without trial. It recommends trial for 500 of the suspects, release of 167 and reviews of the cases of 614. Nigeria warns the US against using its terror designation for BH and splinter rebel group Ansaru against Nigerians traveling to the US for legitimate purposes.

3 December 2013: A round-the-clock curfew in Maiduguri is relaxed by 13 hours, and phone services are restored in the metropolis. A Lagos Federal High Court orders the trial of 17 suspected BH members charged with terrorism to be held in private following an application by the prosecution.

2 December 2013: Around 200 BH gunmen dressed as soldiers launch coordinated attacks on an air force base, a military barracks and a nearby checkpoint in Maiduguri. They burn buildings and five aircraft, and kill dozens of soldiers and civilians. The attacks prompt a round-the-clock curfew in the city and the suspension of flights.

30 November 2013: The Nigerian military pledges to secure communities near the country's northern and eastern borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon over Christmas and New Year due to fears of BH strikes. BH gunmen kill seven fishermen in an ambush the town of Baga - reprisals over the arrests of sect members the previous day. Local boats and fishing nets are burned in the attack. Troops kill BH members and arrest five others in an ambush at Gidan Maiwa Village in Ningi, a local government area of Bauchi State. Eleven Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers, grenades and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition are recovered from the insurgents.

29 November 2013: Human Rights Watch calls for BH to stop targeting ordinary Nigerians, claiming the group has abducted scores of women and girls and used children as young as 12 in fighting.

28 November 2013: BH insurgents kill 17 residents of Sabon Gari Village, in Damboa District, 90km from Maiduguri, during a raid in which over 100 shops and several vehicles are burned.

25 November 2013: The Nigerian military says it will continue to dislodge BH elements who fled from the country's northeast to the southwest following a sweeping military offensive.

23 November 2013: BH gunmen kill 12 residents, burn several homes and steal vehicles in an attack on Sandiya Village, 85km outside Maiduguri. It is a response to the villagers' alleged collaboration with troops.

21 November 2013: Suspected BH gunmen kill three vigilantes in the Kasuwar Gwari area of Yola for their collaboration with troops. Gunmen kill four policemen in an ambush on a police patrol vehicle in the Bauchi State capital, Bauchi. Wahabi Islamic group Izala calls for the release of Mohammed Nazeef Yunus, a lecturer of Islamic studies arrested for being an alleged BH spiritual leader in central Kogi State. Izala insists he was framed.

20 November 2013: The Nigerian lower parliament approves a six-month extension of the state of emergency in three northeastern states. Nigeria's secret police arrest an alleged BH spiritual leader for Kogi State, Mohammed Nazeef Yusuf, along with four accomplices. Yusuf denies the allegation and accuses the police of setting him up. The Borno State government urges the federal government to tighten security along the country's northern borders to curb the BH insurgency.

19 November 2013: Troops kill two BH gunmen and recover arms during a raid on a hideout in the Gayawa area of Kano. The raid follows the earlier arrest of two armed BH members at a checkpoint in neighbouring Katsina State. Maiduguri residents nab a teenager spying for BH in the city. The Nigeria Defence Acadamy says it is modifying its training in response to Nigeria's security challenges, especially BH militancy. Gunmen kill a police officer and injure another in an attack on a police station in Kwami District of Gombe State.

18 November 2013: French hostage Francis Collomp arrives in Paris after escaping his Ansaru captors.

16 November 2013: Collomp escapes from his Ansaru captors in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria. Collomp, a 63-year-old wind-energy engineer, was kidnapped on 19 December 2012 in northern Nigeria's Katsina State. The Nigerian military says it has killed 20 BH gunmen in a raid on a BH camp in Bita Village, Borno State, which the insurgents were using to launch deadly attacks on nearby villages. Scores of BH vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed in the raid. Nigeria's military says it is ready for air strikes against BH Islamists as several thousand troops move to the remote northeast to retake territory seized by the insurgents.

15 November 2013: Nigerian troops kill nine BH members in a gunfight in the Damboa area of Borno State, near the border with Cameroon; a soldier is injured in the incident. Soldiers destroy two BH vans and recover ammunitions in the attack. A BH source confirms the group is behind the kidnap of a French priest in Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria. A Nigerian federal high court sentences BH member Umaru Mustapha to life for the bombing of a complex housing several newspaper offices in Kaduna, killing four people.

13 November 2013: The US designates BH and Ansaru as terror groups. The UN releases a report saying 37,000 people, including 29,000 Niger nationals, have fled northeast Nigeria into neighbouring Niger since the military began its sweeping offensive against BH on 15 May. Gunmen riding on motorcycles kidnap a French Catholic priest from his parish in the Cameroonian village of Nguetchewe, 10km from the Nigerian border. The 15 gunmen cross into Nigeria, and Cameroon authorities blame BH.

9 November 2013: Five BH insurgents and two soldiers are killed in shootouts during raids on two BH hideouts in Kano, following Intel reports that gunmen were planning suicide attacks in Kano and Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

7 November 2013: The Nigerian senate approves the president's request for a six-month extension of emergency rule in three northeastern states.

6 November 2013: The president seeks lawmakers' approval of a six-month extension of the state of emergency in three northeastern states.

5 November 2013: The Nigerian army says it killed seven BH insurgents and injured several others in raids on BH camps in Bama District, Borno State. Nigeria's presidential dialogue and reconciliation committee on BH submits its report, with the committee's head saying BH wants dialogue. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Cécile Pouilly says BH could be guilty of crimes against humanity.

4 November 2013: Dozens of BH gunmen on motorcycles and in pickups kill 27 people and burn down 300 homes in a raid on Bama, a town in northeast Borno State. Twelve people are injured in the raid, according to a local official.

3 November 2013: A BH attack on a wedding convoy kills more than 30 people, including the groom, along Bama-Banki highway, while the convoy is returning from Michika in neighbouring Adamawa State. In a video, BH leader Abubakar Shekau claims responsibility for the 24 October attack on a military base and police facilities in Damaturu.

31 October 2013: BH gunmen kill 13 passengers in an ambush on a commercial bus in Bama District.

29 October 2013: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) urges Cameroonian authorities not to expel Nigerians who fled to Cameroon to escape fighting between BH and Nigerian soldiers.

26 October 2013: The Nigerian military says it killed 95 BH insurgents in two days of air-and-ground raids on BH camps in northern Borno State.

24 October 2013: BH gunmen in military uniform launch coordinated attacks on a military barracks and four police facilities in Yobe State capital Damaturu. Scores are killed, including 35 men in army uniform. It is not clear if the 35 are BH gunmen or Nigerian soldiers.

22 October 2013: Nigeria's military says it killed 37 suspected BH fighters during an air-and-ground assault on an insurgent camp in the northern Borno State.

21 October 2013: The Nigerian military says it has commenced a massive recruitment to tackle the country's security challenges.

15 October 2013: Nigeria's military says it repelled three coordinated attacks by BH gunmen in the towns of Bama, Gwoza and Pulka on 12 October, killing 40 insurgents. Amnesty International issues a report saying 950 people suspected of having links to BH have died in custody in the past six months, claiming prisoners have been suffocated, starved and subjected to extra-judicial killings in the army-led operation in the country's northeast.

9 October 2013: Troops destroy a BH hideout used for making improvised explosives. They recover explosives, including a suicide pack intended for attacks in the northern city of Kano during the Muslim Eid celebration. One suspected BH member is killed in the raid.

7 October 2013: The military says it has killed 30 BH insurgents and recovers a huge arms cache in air-and-ground raids on BH camps in Damboa District, Borno State.

4 October 2013: Amnesty International says in a report that school attacks in northeast Nigeria have forced thousands to abandon their educations. The lives of at least 70 teachers and scores of pupils have been claimed in these attacks.

3 October 2013: Military sources in Niger say "armed bandits" killed a Niger soldier and seriously wounded three others in northeast Nigeria on 2 October. The soldiers were part of a three-nation West African force combating trans-border crime, including BH violence.

28 September 2013: BH gunmen open fire in a dormitory at the College of Agriculture, in the town of Gujba in Yobe State, while students are asleep. Forty students are killed.

27 September 2013: BH splinter group Ansaru releases an online video of a French national kidnapped on 19 December 2012 in northern Nigeria's Katsina State. The video shows 63-year-old engineer Francis Collomp calling for negotiations for his safe release.

25 September 2013: Gunmen kill a priest and two children in an attack on a church in Dorawa Village, in northeastern Yobe State, burning the church and two nearby houses. BH's leader, Abubakar Shekau, appears in new video claiming responsibility for several attacks and mocking the 19 August 2013 military claim that he may have been killed. The Nigerian army says it is trying to verify the authenticity of the video.

24 September 2013: Nigeria's human rights commission says it is investigating allegations that security agents shot dead eight unarmed squatters in the capital Abuja under the guise of fighting BH insurgents.

20 September 2013: BH gunmen attack Bulabulin Ngaura Village, outside Maiduguri, killing 14 residents.

19 September 2013: Security operatives shoot dead eight squatters in an incomplete building during a raid to apprehend suspected BH members, near a residence for lawmakers in Abuja. The security agents claim they came under gunfire from the squatters, a claim the squatters - who are mostly artisans and labourers - refute. Gunmen kill eight people, including three police escorts, and rob a bullion van filled with cash near the town of Damboa.

18 September 2013: Some 150 BH insurgents are killed in coordinated raids on BH camps in Kafiya Forest in Borno State. The dead include Abba Goroma, a wanted BH commander with a 10 million naira bounty on his head. Sixteen soldiers are killed in the fight, with nine others missing.

17 September 2013: BH gunmen kill 142 people and burn dozens of homes in coordinated attacks on the town of Benisheikh in Borno State. BH gunmen dressed in military uniform use assault rifles, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons in the attacks.

15 September 2013: Suspected BH gunmen attack a meeting of a local vigilante group in the town of Gamboru Ngala, in Borno State, on the border with Cameroon. They kill 17 people, including the vigilante leader and a local chief supporting them.

14 September 2013: Vigilantes from the town of Biu in Borno State kill four BH members who fled to Michika in neighbouring Adamawa State during a raid. Seven other sect members are arrested in the raid. A policeman shoots dead a vigilante following an argument over a traffic infraction, leading to street protest by vigilantes.

11 September 2013: Gunmen with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades attack a police station in Ga'anda Village in northeast Adamawa State, killing two officers and injuring another. The police station is burned in the attack.

10 September 2013: Nigerian troops kill 10 BH gunmen after launching an air strike in the Konduga area of Borno State in which two BH camps are destroyed.

8 September 2013: Seventeen vigilantes, dubbed "Civilian JTF", are killed and 18 injured in a fight with BH gunmen attacking Benisheik town, 72km from Maiduguri. Five BH gunmen are also killed in the fight.

7 September 2013: BH gunmen kill five residents on their way to mosque in Bulabulin Ngaura Village, 35km from Maiduguri.

6 September 2013: Nigeria's military says it had killed 50 BH insurgents in northeastern Borno State in an air-and-ground assault launched in response to the BH attack on a local market.

5 September 2013: BH gunmen dressed as traders open fire on a market in the town of Gajiran, 85km from Maiduguri, killing 15 people.

31 August 2013: BH gunmen kill 12 nomads who storm Boko Harma's hideout to avenge the killing of two herders killed by the insurgents following a previous attack on Yaguwa Village in Damboa District of Borno State. BH gunmen disguised as soldiers shoot dead 24 vigilantes, who were combing Monguno Forest in Borno State in search of the insurgents.

28 August 2013: A Nigerian court orders a man accused of being a member of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), to be extradited to the US. He was allegedly sent to Nigeria to find English-speaking recruits. The suspect, identified as Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, also known as "Abdullah" or "Ayatollah Mustapha", has been indicted on four charges in the US, including the charge of supporting a foreign terrorist group.

23 August 2013: Nigeria says it has deported some 22,000 improperly documented or undocumented immigrants from neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon over two months as part of a crackdown linked to its fight against the BH insurgency.

21 August 2013: Seven BH insurgents and two policemen are killed in shootout following an attack on a police station in the town of Gwoza, Borno State. BH gunmen kill four residents and injure eight others in an attack on Gamboru Ngala town on the border with Cameroon.

19 August 2013: The Nigerian military says in a statement that BH leader Abubakar Shekau may have died from a gunshot wound after a clash with soldiers on 30 June. According to the military, Shekau may have died between 25 July and 3 August 2013, after being taken over the border into Amitchide, Cameroon. The Nigerian military establishes a 7 Division in Maiduguri, which replaces the Joint Task Force that has been fighting BH since 2010.

16 August 2013: BH gunmen open fire on civilians and a police station in Konduga, killing 11 people.

15 August 2013: Before bilateral security talks in Abuja, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman says BH's brutal insurgency has stalled Nigeria's development, inflamed ethnic tensions and raised concern among its neighbours. She says the US is ready to help Nigeria develop a multi-faceted strategy to contain the violence, but warns that a military crackdown alone is not enough. The military says Shekau's deputy, Momodu Bama, and his father are among the 32 insurgents killed during a 4 August insurgent attack in the northeast.

12 August 2013: BH leader Abubakar Shekau appears in video taunting world leaders and vowing to defeat Nigerian authorities.

11 August 2013: BH gunmen storm a mosque and open fire on worshippers just before morning prayers, killing 44 people. It accuses the community of cooperating with soldiers in the arrest of sect members, prompting an exodus of residents from the town.

10 August 2013: BH insurgents kill 12 residents in Ngom Village near Konduga. The attackers shoot dead or slaughter their victims after retiring to their homes after who retires to their homes.

6 August 2013: Nigeria moves to extradite to the US a 33-year-old man accused of being a member of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), court documents show. Soldiers begin house-to-house searches in select areas of the town, an apparent search for high-profile BH suspects.

5 August 2013: Explosions and gunfire rage overnight between BH gunmen and troops in the town of Gamboru Ngala, in Borno State. The military in Yobe State places a round-the-clock curfew on Potiskum, the state's commercial hub, amid a huge military deployment ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday. Factional leader of BH Muhammad Marwan claims responsibility for the 29 July bombings of two open beer gardens in Kano, which killed 24 people.

4 August 2013: The military in Borno State says 32 BH gunmen, including Shekau's deputy, two soldiers and a policeman, are killed and two soldiers are injured in two separate BH attacks on a police base in Bama town and a multi-national military checkpoint in Malam Fatori town, both in Borno State. Four all-terrain vehicles, guns, explosives, ammunitions and rocket launchers are recovered from the insurgents.

1 August 2013: The military warns of plans by BH insurgents to carry out massive attacks and bombings in Maiduguri metropolis and other parts of Borno State during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr celebration.

29 July 2013: Nigeria announces it will start to withdraw some of its troops from Mali because they are needed back home to face the BH insurgency. Four bomb blasts targeting two open beer gardens rip through the mainly Christian Sabon Gari area of Kano, killing 24 people and shattering a months-long lull in insurgent attacks.

27 July 2013: BH gunmen kill more than 20 civilians, mostly fishermen and traders. The attack is a reprisal for an attack on them by a vigilante group in Dawashe Village, near the town of Baga in Borno State.

26 July 2013: BH gunmen kill 23 youth vigilantes, called the "Civilian JTF", fighting the insurgents in an ambush near the town of Mainok, 58km from Maiduguri. The vigilantes are returning to Maiduguri, with some suspected BH members arrested in Mainok.

17 July 2013: Nigerian authorities restore the phone signal in Yobe State for the first time since the phone shutdown in three northeastern states, which followed the May 15 state of emergency declaration by the president. The president hails youth vigilantes fighting BH in the northeast as "new national heroes".

14 July 2013: Nigeria's military says it rescued women and children hostages from a BH stronghold in the Bulabulin Ngarnam area of Maiduguri, where several BH gunmen were killed following days of gun battle. The gun battle led to the discovery of a series of bunkers dug by the insurgents and a number of dead bodies.

13 July 2013: BH leader Abubakar Shekau appears in a video expressing support for the 6 July attack on a boarding secondary school in the town of Mamudo in Yobe State that killed 41 students and a teacher, but did not claim responsibility for the massacre.

11 July 2013: Nigeria's military approves the restoration of phone services in northeast Adamawa State after three months of blackout, following the 15 May imposition of a state of emergency.

10 July 2013: Nigeria's special duties minister tasked with talking to BH says he is in ceasefire negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.

9 July 2013: A Nigerian court sentences four BH members to life in prison over April 2011 bombing attacks that killed at least 22 people. The attacks were carried out on an electoral office, a campaign rally and a church in the central city of Suleja, near Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

8 July 2013: The British Home Office discloses that BH will be banned in Britain, alongside Ansar al-Sharia UK, from 13 July, subject to parliamentary approval.

7 July 2013: Yobe State orders the closure of all secondary schools after a massacre at a boarding secondary school in the town of Mamudo by BH gunmen. The European Union condemns the "horrific murder by terrorists" at the school.

6 July 2013: BH gunmen attack a government secondary school in Mamudo in Yobe State, killing 41 students and a teacher and setting dormitories on fire. The military arrests the chairman of the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Borno State, Othman Mala, over suspicion of BH links.

3-8 July 2013: Troops carry out intensive raids on BH's remaining strongholds in Bulabulin Ngarnam, Jajeri and Falluja areas of Maiduguri, killing several insurgents and rescuing women and young girls who had been kidnapped. Nigerian Muslim umbrella body JNI calls on BH to accept dialogue to end violence.

2 July 2013: A vigilante group called "Civilian JTF", which claims to help authorities battle BH insurgents in Nigeria's northeast, sets fire to the Maiduguri home of Othman Mala, chairman of the ruling ANPP in Borno State, after accusing him of links to BH. Human Rights Watch calls on dialogue between BH and a reconciliation committee of the Nigerian government to exclude serious crimes that violate international human rights law from possible amnesty, demanding perpetrators of such crimes be held accountable.

30 June 2013: The Nigerian Human Rights Commission quotes in its new report a Nigeria police investigation report accusing soldiers of firing wildly "at anybody in sight" during a deadly April incident in the town of Baga in Borno State, in which troops razed five wards of the town. BH gunmen kill 10 cowpea traders from southern Nigeria in the town of Monguno in Borno State.

29 June 2013: BH gunmen sack seven hill communities in Gwoza District, forcing residents to flee into neighbouring Cameroon and other far-flung areas.

28 June 2013: Male residents of Bama, in northern Borno State, continue to flee following forced conscription by BH insurgents, who threaten to behead whoever refuses to join their ranks. BH leader Abubakar Shekau appears in a video claiming his fighters have scored several victories against the military during an ongoing offensive while themselves sustaining little damage.

27 June 2013: The Yobe State government says BH has burned down a total of 209 schools in the state.

19 June 2013: The Nigerian military says it has arrested eight of the suspected BH insurgents behind two deadly school attacks in Damaturu and Maiduguri, in which more than a dozen students were killed. Nigeria's military bans the use of satellite phones in the three northeastern states where mobile phone service has been cut due to the imposition of a state of emergency. The military argues the insurgents used satellite phones to plan attacks on two schools in the region, killing over a dozen students.

18 June 2013: Gunmen open fire on an examination hall in the Ansaruddeen private school in Maiduguri, killing five students. BH gunmen kill 13 people, including fishermen, along Alau Dam on the outskirts of Maiduguri, accusing them of collaborating with security agencies. The UN says at least 9,000 people have fled violence in northeastern Nigeria and crossed into neighbouring countries as a government offensive aims to end a four-year Islamist insurgency. A local official says some 19,000 wheat and rice farmers in Marte District, in northern Borno, have fled their fields for fear of BH attacks, raising concerns over potential food shortages. BH issues an audio clip, threatening an all-out war on youths in Maiduguri and Damaturu for helping the military against the insurgents.

17 June 2013: BH gunmen storm a student dormitory in a secondary school in Damaturu, killing seven students and two teachers. Soldiers kill two of the gunmen in a shootout. A five-hour shootout between BH gunmen and soldiers at a military checkpoint in Damaturu leaves three soldiers wounded.

13 June 2013: Security sources say the Nigerian government has released from detention nine BH women, including BH leader Shekau's wife, her three children, widow of BH founder Mohammed Yusuf, as well as 13 other children.

11 June 2013: BH gunmen disguised as mourners kill 15 residents of the Hausari area of Maiduguri in a fake funeral, a reprisal for the arrest of a sect member the previous day. The attack prompts the spontaneous formation youth vigilante groups fighting BH, forcing the insurgents to flee.

6 June 2013: Nigeria's emergency agency announces the deployment of relief items to its fleeing nationals in nearby Niger, following an ongoing military assault to crush the BH insurgency in the northeast. Nigeria's military confirms the US-designated "global terrorist" Abubakar Adam Kambar was killed in a military operation on 18 March 2012.

4 June 2013: Nigeria formally declares BH and the splinter Ansaru rebel group to be terrorist organizations. It issues a law banning them.

3 June 2013: The US announces up to $23 million in rewards to help track down five leaders of militant groups accused of spreading terror in West Africa. The highest reward, $7 million, is offered for BH leader Abubakar Shekau. Soldiers kill three BH members disguised as women and arrest 20 other insurgents clad in women's clothing in a foiled attack on a police station in Maiduguri.

31 May 2013: Nigeria's military says it has released 58 women and children held in connection with the BH insurgency in the northeast under a peace gesture.

28 May 2013: BH leader Abubakar Shekau appears in a video for the first time since the state-of-emergency declaration, claiming victory over Nigerian troops and calling on global jihadists to join BH in its battle against Nigerian soldiers. Nigeria's former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, says during a Rome visit that the root causes of the Islamist insurgency by BH need to be understood before the problem can be resolved and calls on Nigerian government to use a "carrot and stick" approach in tacking BH.

25 May 2013: US Secretary of State John Kerry renews a plea to Nigerian authorities to ensure the military does not carry out atrocities against civilians in its clampdown on BH militants.

24 May 2013: Nigerian authorities say they have freed three women and six children abducted by BH as part of an ongoing military operation targeting the insurgents. The group was abducted on 7 May during an attack on the town of Bama in Borno State.

21 May 2013: Nigeria announces it will release a number of BH detainees, including all women and children, in a peace bid as it wages a military offensive against the insurgents. The Nigerian military relaxes by 10 hours a round-the-clock curfew in some areas of Maiduguri, three days after it is imposed, as soldiers press along with their campaign against BH.

20 May 2013: Nigeria's military says it has re-established control in five remote areas of the northeast Borno State where BH seized territory.

19 May 2013: The Nigerian army's offensive against BH Islamists in northern Borno leaves 14 insurgents and three soldiers dead in the military's latest toll from the operation. Seven wounded BH gunmen are captured in the offensive.

18 May 2013: The military imposes a 24-hour curfew in 12 neighbourhoods of Maiduguri as soldiers press on with a campaign against BH.

17 May 2013: A sweeping offensive against BH Islamists leaves dozens of insurgents dead, as the military presses on with air raids and ground assaults across three northeastern states affected by a state of emergency, a military spokesman said. A Nigerian fighter jets is partially damaged by a BH rocket during an aerial bombardment in Sambisa Forest, but it manages to return to its base in Maiduguri. The UN's human rights office warns BH Islamists could face charges of crimes against humanity, and urges the government to ensure civilians are not swept up in an army counter-offensive. The military accuses BH of wearing army uniform during civilian attacks. Four gunmen, three soldiers and two policemen are killed in coordinated attacks on banks and police stations in the town of Daura, in Katsina State.

16 May 2013: Nigeria's military announces a "massive" deployment of troops and military hardware to its restive northeast, after the president declares a state of emergency in areas where Islamist insurgents have seized territory. Phone signals are shut down in Borno and Yobe states.

15 May 2013: Nigerian troops begin an offensive against BH in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where a state of emergency is declared in order to retake territory seized by insurgents. The US urges Nigeria to protect the rights of civilians and avoid a "heavy-handed" response as it moves against BH militants to enforce a state of emergency.

14 May 2013: The president imposes a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, saying the level of violence calls for "extraordinary measures".

13 May 2013: BH claims responsibility for the Baga and Bama attacks in a video, which also depicts women and children apparently being held hostage.

10 May 2013: Nigeria's president holds emergency talks with his security chiefs about a spate of deadly violence, including the BH insurgency.

9 May 2013: A presidential panel set to seek an amnesty deal with BH meets with 40 suspected sect members being held in Kuje prison outside Abuja.

7 May 2013: BH launches coordinated attacks in the northeastern town of Bama against security formations, killing 55 people and freeing 105 inmates.

6 May 2013: Former oil minister Ali Monguno, who was kidnapped by gunmen in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, is released. Troops rescue the parents of a Nigerian lawmaker from Borno State, who were kidnapped the previous night by BH gunmen while on their way home from a family visit. The kidnappers are arrested.

5 May 2013: A group of gunmen storms Njilang Village in northeast Adamawa State, killing 10 residents in attacks on a church and a market.

3 May 2013: A former Nigerian oil minister, Ali Monguno, is kidnapped by gunmen who storm his vehicle outside a mosque in the restive city of Maiduguri.

1 May 2013: Human Rights Watch releases satellite images showing massive destruction in the Nigerian town of Baga, voicing concern that the military has "tried to cover up" abuses that should be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

29 April 2013: During the launch of seven new police helicopters, President Goodluck Jonathan says Nigeria is going through "a trying moment".

26 April 2013: Emergency officials say many survivors of brutal clashes between soldiers and BH gunmen in Baga town, which killed 187 people, are still in hiding. Twenty BH gunmen and five policemen are killed in attacks on police formations in Gashua town in Yobe State.

25 April 2013: Nigerian rescue workers set up temporary camps in Baga and distribute aid to the masses displaced by brutal fighting between troops and BH.

22 April 2013: The Nigerian Red Cross says heavy fighting between Nigerian troops and BH insurgents in Baga town, in Borno State, has killed 187 people, including scores of civilians, while massive blazes left nearly half the town destroyed. The US condemns the Baga clashes, urging authorities to respect human rights.

19 April 2013: Fierce fighting between troops and suspected Islamists in the remote northeastern town of Baga kills 187 people. BH releases a French family French family of seven it abducted while holidaying in neighbouring Cameroon.

17 April 2013: The Nigerian president sets up a panel to look into how the proposed amnesty for BH should be approached.

11 April 2013: Four policemen and five BH gunmen are killed in a shootout during an attack on a police station in Babban Gida Village of Yobe State. BH leader Abubakar Shekau rejects the idea of any potential amnesty deal with the government. Borno State sets up a committee on contact with BH for the proposed presidential amnesty.

9 April 2013: During a European Union delegation visit to Nigeria, representatives pledge 50 million euros in support of the African force tasked with helping fight Islamist rebels in Mali.

4 April 2013: President Goodluck Jonathan forms a panel to look at the possibility of offering an amnesty deal to Islamist insurgents.

31 March 2013: Fourteen BH gunmen and a soldier are killed in military raids on a BH hideout in the northern city of Kano following Intel reports the insurgents were planning an Easter attack in the city.

22 March 2013: Twenty-five are killed in northeastern Adamawa State when attackers blast a jail, a police station and a bank with bombs, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Some 127 prison inmates escape during an attack on the jailhouse in Ganye town.

21 March 2013: The emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, says a suicide attack that killed 41 people at a bus park was intended to inflame tensions between Muslims and Christians. Bayero is the second most influential Muslim leader in Nigeria.

18 March 2013: A suicide attack at a bus station in Nigeria's second largest city, Kano, kills 41. BH releases a video showing the French family of seven abducted in Cameroon.

16 March 2013: Nigeria rules out a ransom payment to the kidnappers holding seven members of a French family hostage, as France's foreign minister holds talks with President Goodluck Jonathan on the abductions.

15 March 2013: Gunmen kill a senior judicial official in northern Nigeria's largest city, Kano. Gunmen raid a prison in Gwoza, in northeastern Borno State, freeing 170 inmates and killing a civilian.

12 March 2013: Gunmen open fire at a primary school in the northern city of Kano, injuring four teachers before fleeing on a stolen motorcycle.

9 March 2013: A video posted online claims to show the bodies of at least some of the seven foreign hostages believed killed by Ansaru following their abduction in northern Nigerian town of Jama'are. Lebanon is still trying to confirm the fate of two Lebanese, while Britain, Italy and Greece - whose national are among the hostages - say the murder claim appears to be true.

8 March 2013: Nigeria's president defends the heavy deployment of soldiers to the restive northeast during a rare visit to Maiduguri.

7 March 2013: Nigeria's president rebuffs calls for an amnesty deal for BH during a visit to Damaturu.

6 March 2013: Nigeria's top Islamic leader calls on the president to offer amnesty to all BH combatants to end violence by the sect.

5 March 2013: BH leader Abubakar Shekau denies any ceasefire deal with the government in a video in which a man accused of being an informant appears to be beheaded on camera.

3 March 2013: Nigeria's military says it has killed 20 BH insurgents while repelling an attack in the town of Monguno of Borno State.

28 February 2013: Three people, including a soldier, are injured in multiple blasts in three areas of Maiduguri, with one targeting a military patrol vehicle. Gunmen storm a residence housing foreign workers in Tella Village, in central Taraba State, killing two police guards in a failed kidnapping.

26 February 2013: Nigerian troops kill a suspected BH commander and three of his lieutenants during an operation in Maiduguri. France's defence minister rules out talks with the abductors of a French family seized in Cameroon, after a video of the hostages appears on YouTube.

25 February 2013: A video appears on YouTube of seven kidnapped members of a French family with their abductors, who claimed to be from BH, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. France condemns the video as a shocking "display of the kidnappers' cruelty".

23 February 2013: Five people are killed in an attack on a group of people playing cards in Maiduguri. The assailants were gunmen riding on a motorcycle.

22 February 2013: A suicide blast targeting a military vehicle in Maiduguri kills one civilian and wounds six soldiers. Gunfire rings out for hours.

21 February 2013: Nigerian security forces search the country's northeast along the border with Cameroon in a bid to free a French family kidnapped by BH.

20 February 2013: A blast targeting a military patrol vehicle in Maiduguri kills two civilians. France urges its citizens to leave northern Cameroon after the kidnapping of seven members of a French family by BH.

19 February 2013: A French family of seven is kidnapped in Cameroon and taken to Nigeria. BH claims responsibility.

17 February 2013: Two BH gunmen and two civilians are killed in a shootout between gunmen and soldiers at a checkpoint in Nigeria's northern city of Kano. A first contingent of 80 Nigerian troops departs for Mali as part of a UN-mandated African force to help the country battle Islamists who are believed to have forged a close alliance with BH.

See previous timeline

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. ]

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