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Niger President: End of Boko Haram Is Near

Mahamadou Issoufou
Mahamadou Issoufou

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said "the end of Boko Haram is near."

Issoufou spoke with VOA French to Africa news service Tuesday during a visit to Washington. He said Boko Haram "is not eradicated but was greatly weakened" by an offensive launched by multinational forces late in January.

Since then, troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon have driven the Islamist extremist group from most of the towns it controlled in northeastern Nigeria.

Issoufou said Boko Haram "has no future," and predicted that "in a few weeks or months, we will see the end of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region."

However, U.S. intelligence officials have previously warned that Boko Haram may not be near defeat. Intelligence officials told VOA that the group has used strategic retreats in the past only to come back and launch devastating counter-attacks.

In Geneva Wednesday, the United Nations' top human rights official said the recapture of towns has "brought to light gruesome scenes of mass graves" and other "evident signs of slaughter by Boko Haram."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said his office has received reports that retreating Boko Haram fighters murdered their so-called "wives" -- who in actuality, were women and girls held in slavery.

He gave no further details on the allegations.

Boko Haram sparked an international outcry last year when it kidnapped more than 200 teenage girls from a school in the town of Chibok. Nearly a year later, the girls have not been found.