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Friday, January 15, 2016
War Against Boko Haram In 2015: Infographics (Photos)
Is it possible to look through the 2015 without feeling the pain and remembering the string of the Boko Haram attacks on mosques, churches, schools, at political rallies and internally displaced persons’ camps, which killed thousands of Nigerians? No!!!
Insurgency is one of
the biggest challenges the nation was facing last year and is still facing this year.
In 2015 Boko Haram overtook ISIS to become the most deadly terrorist group in the world.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) shows that the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 317 % in 2014 to reach 6,644. The so-called ‘Islamic State’ was responsible for 6,073 lost lives.
The GTI report characterized this development as “the largest increase in terrorist deaths ever recorded by any country.”
According to the Armed Conflict Location Data, in 2015 the Boko Haram insurgency caused the deaths of more than 8,000 people.
Between January 3-7, in a series of mass killings carried out by the insurgents in Baga town and its environs in Borno state, more than 2,000 people were reportedly killed and many others were forced to leave their homes for safety.
Amnesty International described the act as the “deadliest massacre” ever carried out by Boko Haram; local defence groups said they had given up counting the bodies left lying on the streets.
However, the Nigerian army and several government sources rejected the claims of such a high number of fatalities, suggesting that it was considerably lower.
The other deadliest day of the year was February 1, several days before the initial date set for the 2015 presidential election.
In a series of attacks by Boko Haram and the group’s confrontations with the army, a total of 527 people were said to have lost their lives, 82 of them were civilians killed in a single attack.
On February 8 the election commission postponed the general elections by six weeks over security reasons.
Attahiru Jega, the INEC chief, said the delay until March 28 was necessary because of a lack of troops available to protect voters from the Boko Haram attacks.
Alliance with the ISIS
On March 7, the deadly Boko Haram group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, according to an audio statement.
It is worth to mention that it was the last time when the voice of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was heard.
Shekau failed to appear on cameras in the latest videos. This was followed by a set of speculations that he was either in hiding, or had been wounded or murdered. Since then no one has either heard or seen the terrorist #1 in Nigeria.
After the postponement of the general elections on February 7, the Nigerian troops along with armies from the neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger pushed Boko Haram out of many towns and villages they had previously seized in the country’s northeast.
Yet even before Buhari’s inauguration, the military seems to have turned a corner in its fight against Boko Haram.
In the end of April the Nigerian army rescued up to 300 women and children from Sambisa forest, which was a watershed in the war against the insurgency. However, no Chibok girls were among the freed hostages.
In his inaugural speech President Buhari reinstated his pledge to end the era of the Boko Haram sect and announced the relocation on the military command centre to Maiduguri, the epicenter of insurgency.
While decorating new services chiefs in August, President Buhari gave them three-month deadline to wipe out the terrorists from Nigeria.
Counter-insurgency operations have focused on destroying the camps and safe havens such as in Sambisa forest where Boko Haram has been able to store weapons and captives.
Despite the success being recorded by the Nigerian army, the insurgents came closer to the capital as they attacked Abuja in October, having killed at least 20 people.
The country has also stepped up cooperation with neighbouring countries, where Boko Haram has hidden fighters and attacked civilians, Moreover, the US has enhanced military and technical support in the war against insurgency.
The Nigerian security forces have also killed several key top Boko Haram commanders.
The National Emergency Management Agency has recently announced that there is no community which remains under the control of the insurgents.
Just before the beginning of 2016, Buhari declared that Boko Haram is now “technically defeated”.
However, based on what seems to be a contradiction to the president’s announcement as evidenced by the deadly December 28 attack on the outskirts of Maiduguri, there are still serious and lingering threats to the security of the nation.