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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid