West & Central Africa

Boko Haram still dangerous in spite of military claims of success

Boko Haram is proving to be very potent despite the claims of successes by the Nigerian Army fighting the insurgency in a series of killings over this last weekend

A teenage girl was shot by a soldier on Sunday 11 September 2016 when she approached a military check point near Kara Cattle market in Dikwa Borno State. An eye witness report said the market was busy with people making last minute purchases for the Muslim Eid al-Adha Salla celebrations. A soldier asked her to stop and she refused. Suspicious of her movement, he fired a shot at her and the bullet detonated the IED she was carrying, decapitating the girl. Two soldiers sustained minor injuries in the explosion.

In a military press release, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, Acting Director Army Public Relations, issued a warning to people in M Maiduguri to be vigilant. He reported intelligence that Boko Haram is devising strategies for insurgents to pass themselves off as ‘mad men or women’ to gain access to public gatherings.

On Saturday 10 September, a commercial bus driver was killed and a woman and child were severely injured, in an ambush while traveling from Monguno to Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Borno state.

Vigilante Sector 5 fighters of Boko Haram
Vigilante group fighting Boko Haram

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed by a road side bomb while six others were seriously injured on in an explosion while fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the northern part of Borno State near the Cameroon border. Muhammed Dole, the spokesperson of the multi-national Joint Task Force, consisting of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, said two of the insurgents were arrested in the fighting.

These incidences come after recent attacks in which Boko Haram slit the throats of 10 people in IS-style. They accused their victims of defecting to the IS-linked Al-Barnawi group. Al Barnawi had announced himself the leader of Boko Haram in August but Abubakar Shekau, who the Nigeria Military claims several times to have killed, still claimed he is in charge.

The Islamic jihadists seem to be sending the message that they are they still very dangerous and can still do lots of damage despite reports that the insurgents are weakening.