The president of Nigeria once again claimed this week that the Boko Haram jihadist threat is fading in the African country, shortly before the group killed dozens at a mosque near its birthplace.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to Voice of America (VOA) on Monday, indicating that “life in the country’s northeast is improving, as the threat of Boko Haram militants recedes and people return to their homes and farms.”
The attack took place in Mubi town located in Adamawa state, which borders Borno state, the birthplace of Boko Haram where the jihadist group is most active.
The blasts in the town of Mubi bore the hallmarks of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has waged an insurgency in Africa’s most populous country since 2009 and often deploys suicide bombers in crowded places.
The jihadist group on Thursday carried out an attack in Maiduguri, capital of neighboring Borno state, that killed four people.
More than 30,000 people have been killed in the insurgency, which has also forced some two million to flee their homes.
President has repeatedly made the false claim that the Nigerian government defeated Boko Haram.
Although U.S.-backed troops from various African countries have significantly weakened the terrorist organization, it remains very much active in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon, VOA notes.
During the interview on Monday, Buhari argued that when he took office in 2015, the jihadists controlled a majority of local government areas in their birthplace Borno state, ”But now they are not holding any local governments, according to what the military told me, and I believe them.”
The Nigerian leader pointed out that people displaced by Boko Haram at the height of its insurgency — which began in 2009 — have returned home and cultivating their farms, courtesy of low-interest loans from the government.
“People who went to the farm did not regret it,” Buhari declared. “We found that farming is a way out, and we are really happy.”
The president failed to acknowledge the additional threat farmers, particularly Christians, are facing from Muslim Fulani terrorists at the moment.
Critics, including Christian groups, have accused Buhari, who shares ethnicity with the semi-nomadic Fulani group, of leniency towards the terrorists.