Boko Haram also known as the Islamic State in West Africa or Islamic State’s West Africa Province (abbreviated as ISWA or ISWAP) is a jihadist militant organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.
The organization was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002. After the death of Yusuf, the group has been led by Abubakar Shekau since 2009. Since the current insurgency started in 2009, Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015. Also, the armed group – which wants to form a breakaway Islamic state – has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.
Boko Haram Latest News Updates
In this post, we look at the latest news relating to Boko Haram in Nigeria from attacks on military bases to the destruction of villages in Northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram Attacks Two Military Bases in Northeast Nigeria (December 17, 2018)
In December 2018, it was reported that at least one naval officer killed as armed group seizes trove of weapons from two bases near Nigerian border with Chad.
According to the report, suspected Boko Haram fighters have attacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria, and briefly seized the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.
The authorities in Nigeria also reported that the fighters overran the multinational joint task force post (MNJTF) which lies in the fishing town of Baga, less than 10km from the Nigerian-Chad border, and sacked a naval base in Mile 3, some 5km from Baga.
A military source who asked not to be identified told the AFP news agency that Nigerian troops were “overpowered and forced to withdraw,” adding that “the terrorists carted away gun trucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.” According to the source, the fighters from Boko Haram, who have repeatedly struck military outposts in the region in recent months, stormed Baga in several vehicles.
Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said, adding that they decided not to pursue them to avoid running into an ambush, a strategy Boko Haram often employs against the military.
The spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman confirmed the attack, adding that one navy officer was killed. According to Usman, the troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight and the Nigerian Air Force component has also been mobilised and are engaging the fleeing terrorists.
The residents of the regional capital Maiduguri reported seeing six fighter jets flying towards Baga on Thursday.
A reporter of Al Jazeera, Ahmed Idris also said that the fighting around Baga continued on Friday morning. According to Idris, the fighters surrounded Baga town for a number of hours and the army has also confirmed that there’s been some fighting, but it has not lost control of this town of Baga’, which is a fishing community.
However, some residents have fled the town and are saying that Boko Haram fighters were deep inside the town. In fact, a particular resident said that they even led morning prayers this morning in Baga town. But the military is not giving many details, only confirming that one personnel was killed, and that they are on a search and rescue in certain areas, an indication that probably some of their soldiers have been dispersed by Boko Haram.
It would be recalled that in January 2015, Boko Haram overran the same MNJTF base and took control of Baga town. Idris described those events as “one of the worst Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria.”
Nigerian Army Says 14 Personnel Killed in Boko Haram Ambush (December 25, 2018)
According to the Nigerian military, the security forces were on escort duty when they were attacked in Yobe state in the north of the country. And as many as 14 Nigerian military and police personnel were killed in the ambush by armed Boko Haram group.
Also, the army released a statement that the attack took place just outside Damaturu town in Yobe state in the north of Nigeria. The statement was signed by army spokesman Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu and he revealed that efforts to pursue and “eliminate” the Boko Haram group are ongoing.
Since Boko Haram launched its campaign in 2009, the group has killed more than 20,000 people and forced two million others to flee their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The Nigerian military has been fighting the group since then and despite the government’s insistence that it is near defeat, northern Nigeria is still beleaguered by heavy fighting.
Over the years, Boko Haram, which wants to form a breakaway state, has kidnapped thousands of adults and children. And the group has continued to be a major issue for President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks a second term in the upcoming election in February. The President and other officials have warned that the group has begun using drones as part of a resurgence.
Unidentified Gunmen Kill 17 People in Nigeria’s Zamfara State (December 24, 2018)
At least 17 people were shot dead in the latest attack on villages in northern Nigeria’s Zamfara state over the weekend, according to witnesses and police.
Kasimu Bello, a resident of Magami village in the Maradun district, told AFP news agency on Monday that unidentified gunmen entered his village on several motorcycles on Saturday, shooting people indiscriminately as they tried to flee. The witness revealed that after the attack, they collected 17 bodies which have since been buried.
Another resident, Umaru Bawa, confirmed the attack, saying: “The bandits pursued people like chickens and shot them dead as they ran into the bush”.
Mohammed Shehu, the state police spokesman, said his operatives would arrest and “bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act”.
The assault came just days after 25 people were killed on Wednesday in similar raids on two villages in Birnin Magaji district.
Early in December, an influential traditional ruler in the state called for civilian militia members to be given assault rifles to defend themselves.
The continued raids by cattle thieves in Zamfara and the resource conflict between farmers and herders in central Nigeria have added to Nigeria’s security challenges as the military battles the Boko Haram armed group in the northeast.
Late on Friday, troops fought off the group’s attempt to overrun a base in Damasak on the border with Niger after an hours-long fight in which one civilian was killed.
On Saturday, troops foiled attempts to seize two bases in Logomani near the border with Cameroon and the town of Gajiram.
Several Boko Haram fighters were killed and their vehicles destroyed, sources said on condition of anonymity.
Lost Childhood: Boko Haram Victims Gripped by Thoughts of Revenge (September 5, 2018)
Military authorities revealed that 23 soldiers were killed and 31 others wounded. The military sources, who did not want to be identified, told Al Jazeera that about 100 soldiers were killed in the attack.
According to the source Nigerian army spokesperson Sani Usman in a statement released in Abuja, they have noticed audacious moves by the terrorist in the last 2-3 months as they have seen the use of drones against them. They also seem to be the infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks, the statement said
The Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
For President Buhari, insecurity has become a major electoral issue and despite his vow to defeat Boko Haram in the last election in 2015, the menace of Boko Haram remains a pain in the neck.
When the former army general became President, the army seems to make gains on Boko Haram, winning back territory, rescuing abductees and dislodging the fighters from their strongholds. But in recent months, the fighters have returned, sacking communities, killing soldiers and kidnapping young girls and aid workers.
Hauwa Liman, a 24-year-old aid worker, was executed by Boko Haram in October after a deadline imposed by the group to release some of its imprisoned members expired. Liman, a nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had been kidnapped by the armed group in March along with two other medical workers in Rann, Borno State.
Saifura Ahmed, a midwife with ICRC who was abducted at the same time, was executed by Boko Haram in September.
The armed group is still holding a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who was abducted with 109 others in February from her school in the town of Dapchi, Yobe state.
The recent attacks clearly indicate that Boko Haram is still a threat and contrary to the claims made by the Buhari administration they haven’t been technically defeated.
In December 2017, Buhari secured the release of one billion dollars in additional funds to boost the fight against Boko Haram. Unfortunately, the funds have been unable to save the Nigerian military from suffering embarrassing attacks and questions have been raised over the lack of equipment for troops on the front lines.
Buhari’s spokesperson Festus Keyamo told Al Jazeera that Boko Haram attacks do not undermine the government’s achievements. According to Keyamo, there has been progress when comparing 2015 to 2019.
Apart from Boko Haram, there is also the resurgence of violence in central and southern Nigerian regions between nomadic herdsmen and local farmers. The fighting between farmers and nomads has killed more people this year than attacks carried out by Boko Haram, according to a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG). At least 1,500 people have been killed in such clashes since September last year.
If this trend of Boko Haram insurgency and the herdsmen attack continue until the presidential election, it will certainly affect Buhari’s re-election bid.
Boko Haram Fighters Attacked Two Borno Villages and IDP Camp (November 2, 2018)
On the 1st of November 2018, it was reported that at least 12 civilians were killed in multiple Boko Haram attacks targeting two villages and a camp for those displaced by fighting in northeastern Nigeria, according to residents and civilian militia.
Boko Haram fighters arrived in seven trucks late on Wednesday and attacked Bulaburin and Kofa villages, as well as a camp in Dalori village outside Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
It was reported that the terrorists attacked and completely burned Bulaburin and Kofa villages and burned half the Dalori 2 IDP (internally displaced persons) camp. They also killed nine people in Bulaburin, two people in Dalori, and one in Kofa and looted food supplies before setting them on fire,” Kolo said.
According to Musa Goni, a Kofa resident in an interview with AFP, he said the fighters opened fire indiscriminately and killed one person as residents fled. Afterwards, they moved to nearby Bulaburin where they gunned down nine people and burned the village after stealing food.
Also, a civilian militia member, Solomon Adamu told AFP that the fighters engaged troops and civilian militia guarding the IDP camp in Dalori in a shoot-out before overrunning the makeshift facility.
Adamu further revealed that when the Boko Haram gunmen came they stopped on the road overlooking the camp and started firing. The soldiers and civilian JTF (militia) at the gate engaged them in a gunfight but were forced to withdraw into the camp because they were outgunned. Also, residents were forced to flee and two were killed while several were wounded, according to Adamu.
The fighters invaded the camp after overrunning troops and the militia and “burned half the camp” by setting fires and firing rocket-propelled grenades on buildings. Adamu revealed that one grenade didn’t explode and is still lying in the camp, waiting for bomb disposal units to evacuate it.
The Nigerian military also revealed a statement. The military said one civilian was found dead after Boko Haram had ransacked Dalori’s market, set buildings on fire and fled when soldiers approached.
It would be recalled that the area has been attacked multiple times before by the Boko Haram faction loyal to Abubakar Shekau. Despite government insistence that Boko Haram is near defeat, northern Nigeria is still beleaguered by heavy fighting.