News / Africa

Nigeria: Offensive Has Destroyed Most Islamist Bases

A Nigerian soldier walks past a burnt vehicle during a military patrol in Hausari village, near Maiduguri, June 5, 2013.
A Nigerian soldier walks past a burnt vehicle during a military patrol in Hausari village, near Maiduguri, June 5, 2013.
Reuters
The Nigerian military said on Monday that a two-month-old offensive in the northeast had “substantially achieved” the aim of destroying Islamist bases, as well as killing or capturing a number of fighters and freeing victims of abductions.
 
In a statement, defense spokesman Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade also said 23 women and 35 children being held on charges of aiding Islamist militant group Boko Haram had been released as a gesture of peace to its more moderate sympathizers.
 
Nigerian forces are carrying out their most concerted effort yet to end a four-year insurgency that has left thousands dead - many of them killed in gun or bomb attacks - and destablised swaths of the north of Africa's top oil producer.
 
“The mandate to the forces involves the destruction of all terrorist camps and apprehension of perpetrators,” Olukolade said. “This mandate has been substantially achieved with destruction of terrorists' strongholds. A number of terrorists have been apprehended ... Many of them have died in battle.”
 
Boko Haram, which is fighting for an Islamic state in religiously-mixed Nigeria, have in the past proved masters of resurrecting themselves after apparent defeat.
 
Nigerian authorities thought they were finished after a 2009 crackdown left 800 dead, including the sect's founder Mohammed Yusuf, but they came back stronger than ever, developing ties with al-Qaida-linked militants in the Sahara. 

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on May 14, ordering extra troops into the northeast after reports Boko Haram had taken over large stretches of the remote semi-desert region.

The Nigerian government has deployed thousands of soldiers to fight Boko Haram in the north after emergency rule was declared in three states on May 14. Picture taken in Borno State, June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)The Nigerian government has deployed thousands of soldiers to fight Boko Haram in the north after emergency rule was declared in three states on May 14. Picture taken in Borno State, June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
x
The Nigerian government has deployed thousands of soldiers to fight Boko Haram in the north after emergency rule was declared in three states on May 14. Picture taken in Borno State, June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
The Nigerian government has deployed thousands of soldiers to fight Boko Haram in the north after emergency rule was declared in three states on May 14. Picture taken in Borno State, June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
Since then, security sources say the number of attacks has dropped sharply, although a spate of deadly attacks on schools showed the sect can still inflict mayhem.

Olukolade said the destruction of bases in Nigeria had pushed the militants back inside northeast Nigeria's cities, like Maiduguri, where many had been seized in cordon and search operations.
 
On Sunday, Nigerian forces said they had uncovered a vast network of underground tunnels connecting houses and bunkers in the Maiduguri area of Bulabulin, as well as some collective graves of people killed by the militants. Olukolade said some of the bunkers could accommodate over 100 people.
 
Critics say no amount of military force will solve the underlying issues driving the insurgency, such as the north's poverty and sense of political exclusion, but efforts to dialog with the sect have failed to get a positive response.
 
The authorities had also arrested the parents-in-law of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

On Saturday Shekau uploaded a defiant Internet video vowing never to “dialogue with a government that is corrupt and using the book of pagans [Bible] to run itself,” a swipe at the fact that Jonathan's administration is dominated by southern Christians like himself.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More