The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces. Nigeria's military has claimed it has killed a number of the sect's senior leadership in recent days, including operational commanders and the sect's spokesman, who used the nom de guerre Abul Qaqa. However, the sect's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has eluded capture and continues to make Internet videos that taunt and threaten further violence against Nigerian government officials and security forces.
For now, activists worry that while Boko Haram remains a shadowy and hidden group, soldiers will take their rage out on civilians nearby. And as Nigeria's military continues to publish body counts following its operations, some fear those tallies may include innocent bystanders caught up in the violence simply by living nearby.
Meanwhile, the country's leaders remain apparently unable to halt the mounting casualties, including the killings of more than 20 university students recently in the nation's northeast.
Nigeria's leaders "barricade themselves behind tall, reinforced concrete fences and bulletproof cars. They move with a fearsome retinue of guards, soldiers and police," columnist Okey Ndibe wrote in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Sun newspaper. "They don't realize that their so-called security is a lie, a huge illusion. They don't reckon that the monster abroad in the land is growing stronger and fiercer by the day, and will soon lay siege on their doors."
Jon Gambrell reported from Lagos, Nigeria, and can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.