Nigeria Kills 73 ‘Suspects’ in Attack on Cattle Herders

Insists They're Boko Haram, But Where'd the Cows Come From?

The Nigerian military has offered some flimsy arguments in the past when accused of wholesale killings of civilians. Today, they tried to get out in front of that by bragging about having killed 73 “Boko Haram suspects” in an attack on what seems to have been a cattle drive.

The Nigerian troops attacked people who “took cover behind a herd of cows,” assuming them to be Boko Haram, and claimed 73 slain. The rest fled, and there were no reports of any return fire by the “suspects.”

Nigerian officials argued that they have warned all cattle herders in the region to “steer clear” of the region, and therefore the people must’ve been Boko Haram militants who hid behind an impromptu herd of cattle which appeared out of nowhere.

There was no explanation of where the cows came from, why they were unescorted in an area the military had told “all herders” was off limits, or why Boko Haram, which usually engages in protracted, and successful, gunbattles with the Nigerian military somehow managed to get routed without firing a single shot.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of