Following multiple attacks in its stronghold of northeast Borno state, ISIS affiliate Boko Haram has bombed multiple targets in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, as well as attacking Niger and Chad, both member nations of a military coalition formed to destroy the terrorist group.
Boko Haram has consistently attacked Borno’s capital Maiduguri and nearby villages. Abuja, more than 500 miles from Borno, has remained a more elusive target. That changed on Sunday, when two bombings targeting police stations—”strongholds of the apostates”—killed at least 18 people and left 41 injured. Unlike many recent Boko Haram attacks, the group, identifying itself as the Islamic State West Africa Province, took credit almost immediately on social media. Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reports that a male and female suicide bomber were involved, and the group released photographs of the terrorists on social media in celebration.
— Vanguard Newspapers (@vanguardngrnews) October 5, 2015
Also on Sunday, two separate suicide bombers targeted Diffa, a town in the country of Niger, which shares a border with Nigeria and has pledged to support the efforts to eradicate the group. “There were 10 deaths in total: a policeman, five civilians and the four suicide bombers,” according to a source on the ground speaking to Vanguard. Despite the deaths, the source claims the attack was unsuccessful, as the suicide bombers had been attempting to hit military targets and, instead, killed civilians.
In Chad, Boko Haram terrorists launched a surprise attack at 4:30 AM local time on a military position near Lake Chad Tuesday. “This surprise attack claimed the lives of 11 soldiers and wounded 13 (and) 17 Boko Haram fighters were killed,” reports indicate. Lake Chad is significantly closer to Boko Haram strongholds than Abuja, and Boko Haram terrorists have used the giant body of water to force civilians to choose between being shot by terrorists or drowning in the lake.
A fourth incident occurred on Tuesday which killed three Boko Haram terrorists. The terrorists were transporting a bomb to Diffa, Niger, when it exploded in their car, killing all three but detonating too far from the city to have any effect aside from killing its carriers.
Previously, when Boko Haram has managed to surface far from its strongholds in the northeast, the Nigerian military has attributed this to disarray. In September, when the military announced it had arrested multiple Boko Haram members in southeastern Lagos, a city that had never before experienced the presence of the group, a military spokesman heralded this as good news, an indication that Boko Haram was near defeat.
Military spokesmen have offered no such statements regarding this string of attacks. Independently, however, Nigerian Maj. Gen. Yushau Abubakar issued a statement promising to eradicate the group entirely by December 2015. “We will not rest on our oars until we defeat the terrorists by December,” added Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s chief of army staff on Tuesday. December is somewhat longer than the original ultimatum that President Muhammadu Buhari had issued in August, when he promised the group would no longer exist in “three months.”