Nigeria’s military is again vowing to destroy Boko Haram by the end of the year, even as the terrorist group Sunday launched another deadly attack in the northeast of the country, killing around eight people.
Reports say a suicide bomber, probably a 20-year-old woman, detonated her explosives among internally displaced people, mostly women and children, as they arrived in the city of Maiduguri.
Military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman clarifies that the attack did not take place in Maiduguri but rather on the outskirts of the city. He said the Nigerian army, assisted by the citizens, is working around the clock each day to ensure that Boko Haram is not only degraded but defeated before the end of this year as demanded by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“There was a lone female suicide bomber that was intercepted by our troops, and of course other security agencies at a check point on the outskirts of Maiduguri. So, it is not correct for anybody to say it was Maiduguri,” he said.
Usman said the bomber infiltrated the IDPs with the intention to kill as many people as possible. But he said she hurriedly detonated her explosives after she was spotted.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that actually the female suicide bomber wanted to commit more havoc by joining other internally displaced persons going about their businesses, possibly with the intent of even going to the city [of Maiduguri],” Usman said.
FILE - People inspect a damaged mosque following an explosion in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Oct. 23, 2015. Boko Haram is suspected to be behind that bombing.
There have been several guerrilla-type Boko Haram attacks on Maiduguri and Usman admits it’s sometimes difficult to fight a group that has resorted to guerrilla warfare.
“There is no absolute time when you are fighting terrorism and insurgency, but I would say Maiduguri is cool and calm and we hope it will remain that way. Adequate security measures have already been put in place to secure the lives and property of that city,” Usman said.
In an audio message earlier this year, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State caliph.
Usman said the Nigerian army is not worried that Boko Haram could launch an IS-style dramatic attack as in Paris and Bamako.
“There’s a new collective zeal and determination on the part of the citizenry to ensure that Boko Haram is defeated, is degraded, that it will no longer have the capacity to cause mayhem and wanton destruction of lives and property by the end of the year,” Usman said.