On Christmas Eve 2015 the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, was publicly confident that his country had “technically won the war” against the Islamist group Boko Haram. Three months into 2016 the group is still wreaking havoc across northern Nigeria and beyond.
Officials in northern Nigeria say President Muhammadu Buhari has exaggerated the military’s success against Boko Haram after an American commander testified that the extremist group still holds territory.
Appearing at a summit in Abu Dhabi in January, Buhari told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Boko Haram was “currently not holding any territory today as we speak” — a claim that was met with skepticism back home.
Last week, Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington that Boko Haram “does own some significant territory in northern Nigeria.”
Ngari Modu, a local official in northeastern Borno state, said Rodriguez’s statement indicates the government is misleading the public over the true state of the campaign to eliminate the extremists.
Since the beginning of the year, the group has killed more than 100 people and continued to drive many more from their homes as they flee for their safety.
From any reasonable angle, the situation hardly looks resolved. According to UN assistant secretary general and regional humanitarian co-ordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, Boko Haram has become the deadliest terrorist group in the world. As of the beginning of 2016, 2.8m people living in the Lake Chad region have been displaced, including more than a million children; a million children are out of school, and hundreds of thousands are at risk of starving to death.
(Source The Conversation and AP)