ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has killed 253 people in various attacks in the first three weeks of 2012, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
The group began its campaign of violence in July 2009, and has so far killed more that 935 people in about 164 suspected attacks, including suicide bombings. They have claimed responsibility for bombings on churches, police stations, military facilities, bars and banks.
Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, calls Boko Haram's wanton violence evidence of a "complete and utter disregard for human life."
"The Nigerian authorities need to call a halt to this campaign of terror and bring to justice those responsible for planning and carrying out these reprehensible crimes," she said.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency Dec. 31 in parts of Bono, Niger, Plateau, and Yobe. In response, Boko Haram gave predominately Christian southern Nigerians three days to leave the North on Jan. 2. After the ultimatum deadline passed, more attacks followed.