Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari once again asserted that his government has defeated Boko Haram, this time as the jihadist group’s leader reportedly appeared in a video claiming responsibility for a series of recent attacks in the African nation and insisting the terrorist organization is “in good health.”
President Buhari has repeatedly claimed that the Nigerian military has beaten Boko Haram, but the group continues to carry out attacks.
Citing Nigeria’s Muslim Council, the Associated Press reports that Boko Haram has killed at least 5,247 Muslims and injured 5,100 others in the past four years alone in just the northern state of the Adamawa.
A report prepared by the council “recommends increasing security and financial support to local defense groups assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram,” notes AP.
Governors across the country have already “approved the withdrawal of $1 billion to fight Boko Haram,” points out the Agence France-Presse (AFP) agency, noting,”The federal government later explained that the money was meant to not only fight the terror group but also address other security concerns across the country.”
During a New Year broadcast to Nigerians on Monday, the Nigerian president insisted, “We have since beaten Boko Haram,” reports Nigeria’s Premium Times.
“Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror,” acknowledged Buhari.
The next day, a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau issued a video message claiming responsibility for various attacks during the holiday season, a move that has cast doubt on the Nigerian government’s allegation that the group has been defeated.
“We are in good health, and nothing has happened to us,” declared Shekau in the 31-minute video message, reveals AFP.
“Nigerian troops, police, and those creating mischief against us can’t do anything against us, and you will gain nothing,” he also said, adding, “We carried out the attacks in Maiduguri, in Gamboru, in Damboa. We carried out all these attacks.”
Shekau’s message comes during an acceleration of Boko Haram attacks and just days after the jihadists killed 25 people outside Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Islamist insurgency. In December, Boko Haram attacked convoys of Nigerian soldiers and dispatched suicide bombers into crowded markets in towns across northeast Nigeria. At least 50 people were killed in November when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Adamawa state.
Since Boko Haram surfaced in 2009, the Islamic extremist group has reportedly killed more than 20,000 people.
In December 2015, President Buhari alleged that the Nigerian military had “technically defeated” Boko Haram.
However, the terrorist group has since killed thousands of Nigerians.