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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid