Nigerian army 'capture Boko Haram stronghold.
25 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

The Nigerian army has defeated Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest, one of the jihadists' last remaining strongholds, President Muhammadu Buhari said Saturday.

A campaign lasting for months in the 1,300 square-kilometre (500 square-mile) forest in northeastern Borno state led to the "final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest" on Thursday, Buhari said in a statement.

The government in Abuja and the military have frequently claimed victories against the Islamic State (IS) group affiliate but access to the epicentre of the conflict in Borno state is strictly controlled.

That has made independent verification of official statements about victories virtually impossible. Attacks have meanwhile continued, making claims of defeating Boko Haram questionable despite undoubted progress in pushing back the group.

"The terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice," Buhari said.

The announcement came after Nigeria launched a barrage of land and air assaults in Borno state at the heart of the insurgency that has spread to three neighbouring countries -- Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

While the counter-insurgency has clawed back some territory, Boko Haram has responded by stepping up guerrilla tactics, ambushing troops when it can and terrorising civilians when it cannot.

Buhari's statement made no mention of the whereabouts of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram faction based in the forest.

Boko Haram, which last year pledged allegiance to IS, has been in the grips of a power struggle since late last year.

Shekau led Boko Haram for several years, until the IS command said in August that he had been replaced as leader by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the 22-year-old son of the group's founder Mohammed Yusuf.

Shekau says he is still in charge, however, as rival factions vie for control.

Chibok girls still missing

On Wednesday, a military commander said Nigerian troops had rescued 1,880 civilians from a Boko Haram redoubt in the restive northeast over the past week and arrested hundreds of insurgents.

Buhari also said Saturday that "further efforts should be intensified to locate and free our remaining Chibok girls still in captivity", referring to more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April 2014. To date only a few of them have been freed.

Boko Haram seeks to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

The army's claim of recapturing Sambisa Forest brought a rare glimmer of hope for millions of people caught up in the devastating conflict.

But Buhari has been keen to announce any positive news, with his government increasingly under fire for its handling of the economy, which is officially in recession.

The humanitarian fallout from the conflict is also huge and aid agencies say it is too big for the country to handle on its own, heaping pressure on already overstretched resources.

Buhari has previously claimed that Boko Haram had already been "technically defeated".

His government has however struggled to stop attacks on soft targets such as markets, including the use of women and child suicide bombers.

At least 20,000 people have been killed since the insurgency erupted in 2009. The fighting has also displaced some 2.6 million people, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the region.

'Africa's largest crisis'

The United Nations said earlier this month a billion dollars are needed to help victims of Boko Haram and called the conflict "the largest crisis in Africa."

It estimates that 14 million people will need outside help in 2017, particularly in Borno state, where villagers under siege have typically been forced to abandon their crops.

"A projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for a third year in a row, causing a major food crisis," the UN said on December 2.

People freed from Boko Haram's grip by the army have generally been taken to camps where basic supplies are also scarce.

The Nigerian presidency has since accused aid groups of exaggerating the food crisis.

(AFP)


The Editor.

Comments.
Other Stories You May Like.


  • Nigerian Army Fires Military Doctor For Having Sex With Colleague’s Wife

    2 July, 2016. \\ Admin

    A Nigerian Army court-martial on Wednesday dismissed a Regimental Medical Doctor after he was found guilty of having sex with his fellow officer’s wife, military officials have told PREMIUM TIMES. The court slammed a two-count charge of illicit sexual relationship and unprofessional conduct on Lieutenant Musa Mustapha Bature, and accused him of taking advantage of a colleague’s wife who was supposed to be his patient. The court-martial sat at the Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment of the 2 Division, Ojo, Ibadan in Oyo State.


  • Army inaugurates environmental sanitation in Maiduguri

    2 July, 2016. \\ Admin

    The Nigerian Army on Saturday inaugurated environmental sanitation in Maiduguri as part of the 2016 Army Day celebration.


  • God has given Nigeria victory over Boko Haram – Army chief

    4 July, 2016. \\ Admin

    The Commander of the counter-insurgency operation in the North East, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, says God has given Nigeria victory over Boko Haram.


  • We’ll use force if dialogue fails, Army warns militants

    26 July, 2016. \\ Admin

    The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the Nigerian Army will not hesitate to use force should the dialogue between the Federal Government and militants fails.


  • Army court-martials 20 soldiers for murder, arms sale

    11 Aug, 2016. \\ Admin

    Speaking during the inaugural sitting, the president of the court, Brig. Gen. Adeniyi, said there was no need for the accused to entertain any fear as they would be given fair hearing


  • Chibok girls: Army stops Wakil, Bolori from hajj

    19 Aug, 2016. \\ Admin

    The Nigerian Army had declared Salkida, a journalist believed to have contact with the Boko Haram sect, Bolori and Wakil, wanted on Monday for allegedly withholding information on the location of the Chibok girls


  • Nigerian army captures notorious militant famously known as Abuja Daddy

    18 Sept, 2016. \\ Admin

    Abuja Daddy was arrested at Saint Joseph Hospital, Ikot Ene junction, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State while attempting to collect ransom from a kidnapped victim’s relation


  • Last Boko Haram strongholds in Northern Borno captured – Army

    6 Oct, 2016. \\ Admin

    Of course there are several aerial bombardments going on right now that I will not want to talk about, there are other areas our troops are carrying out operations too,” Irabor said


  • Kaduna releases gazette on Shiites, Army clash

    20 Oct, 2016. \\ Admin

    Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Federal Government and the Kaduna State governments to declare a state of emergency on southern Kaduna


  • Saraki lauds the Nigerian Army for buying 50,000 Aba-made shoes

    31 Oct, 2016. \\ Admin

    According to him, the move shows that the military was living up to its billing as an institution that can play vital roles in boosting the national economy.


  • Army releases fresh pictures of 55 wanted Boko Haram suspects

    22 Nov, 2016. \\ Admin

    Buratai, who commended the Nigerian Army for keeping to the desired task of defeating the terrorists, implored the troops


  • Python dance: We are not against Igbo, says Army

    5 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

    He asked the public to disregard “the unfounded fear and allegations orchestrated by ill-meaning individuals and groups that the exercise is ‘ a plot to kill IPOB members.”


  • Army school commandant found dead inside military formation

    12 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

    If the school commandant could be killed in such manner, how safe are the civilian staff and pupils who live in the school


  • Mischievous elements shot video of soldiers begging for water – Army

    21 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

    In addition to the unit’s water tanker, a borehole was subsequently drilled at the location and it is still serving both the military


  • Boko Haram fleeing to other regions, says Army

    25 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

    We wish to therefore, inform members of the public especially residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, that they be vigilant and security conscious.


  • Army takes over Sambisa Forest, service chiefs to reopen roads

    25 Dec, 2016. \\ Admin

    The President wrote, “I am delighted and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited


  • Suicide bombers have a deadly new tactic, warns Army

    9 Jan, 2017. \\ Admin

    The spokesman also advised that suspicious movement of persons should be reported to authorities without delay, adding


  • B’Haram attacks military base, army court-martials soldiers

    15 Jan, 2017. \\ Admin

    We have a joint investigation center comprising of the army and other security agencies. I cannot speak for the center


  • Nigerian Army releases 257 suspected Boko Haram members

    16 Jan, 2017. \\ Admin


  • We’ll surrender to ECOWAS forces if…. Gambian Army Chief

    19 Jan, 2017. \\ Admin

    Meanwhile, the Senegal army spokesman Colonel Abdou Ndiaye said the Senegalese troops are on alert ahead of the expiration


  • Army denies re-absorption of dismissed regiments

    24 Jan, 2017. \\ Admin

    The Nigerian Army has no plan for any re-absorption of dismissed soldiers as assumed. Members of the public are please urged


  • Nigerian army has arrested the officers that brutalised a cripple in Onitsha

    9 Feb, 2017. \\ Admin