The Nigerian army reportedly claims to have completely eliminated the Boko Haram branch of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in its stronghold of northeastern Nigeria.
Leaders in the West African country have made similar allegations in the past, notes NAIJ.com.
In September 2015, Nigerian Col. Rabe Abubakar, the director of information at the country’s defense headquarters, asserted that all Boko Haram camps and cells had been decimated, adding that the terrorist was no longer able to hold territory.
Moreover, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim in December 2015 to have “technically defeated” Boko Haram was shattered when the group continued to operate and pose a threat.
The Sambisa Forest, which covers parts of the northeastern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Kano, has been identified as Boko Haram’s last stronghold in the country.
Col. Sani Usman, a top spokesman for the Nigerian army, has announced the complete eradication of Boko Haram in the entire northeastern part of Nigeria, reports NAIJ.com.
The colonel said:
We have come to the point that we can beat our chest and decisively say we have dealt with Boko Haram. The situation in the northeast has tremendously improved. The military operations or the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the northeast is hinged on three things.
First, defeating the Boko Haram terrorists which have been accomplished and making room to facilitate humanitarian assistance which is also ongoing. Then restoration of law and order for good governance to take place. We no longer have camps of Boko Haram terrorists and we no longer have them conveyed in the territories.
Just about two months ago, the Emir of the Gwoza Local Government Area in the northeastern state of Borno, Alhaji Muhammadu Idrissa Timta, refused to return to areas that had allegedly been cleared of the Boko Haram threat.
Vanguard quotes the emir as saying that “none of his Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, including himself and his immediate family will return to Gwoza until Boko Haram terrorist are completely wiped out.”
The Nigerian news outlet points out:
According to him, most communities especially surrounding mountainous villages of Ngoshe, Ashigashiya, Barawa and other border communities with Cameroon Republic are strictly under the control of the [Boko Haram] sect members, lamenting that over “10,000 persons are still trapped in Mandara Mountains” (Bayan Dutse)…
The Emir insisted that the so-called liberation of Gwoza communities hitherto under Boko Haram control by troops was only visible on the pages of newspapers.
The news outlet notes:
There has been a reversal of fortunes in the [northeastern] region as the terrorist group has been gradually beaten back and territory formerly under its control retaken by the Nigerian army. In the past few months, there has been relative calm and it has brought with it a gradual restoration of economic activity.
This economic rebound is most evident… in the three major cities in the region: Maiduguri, the northeast’s biggest city—home to some two million people in Borno State; Potiskum, the commercial capital of Yobe State and Mubi, a town on the Cameroonian border that is the commercial hub of Adamawa State.
In the report, Boko Haram was treated as a separate terrorist group from ISIS, despite the Nigeria-based group pledging allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year.