Hundreds of people have fled Nigeria’s Chibok area after suspected Boko Haram extremists looted and burned down houses there, community leaders said in a press conference Nov. 22. The attacks came after the Nigerian army chief declared Boko Haram defeated.
The chairman of the Chibok local government area, Yaga Yarkawa, said the insurgents attacked at least nine villages within 16 miles of the town of Chibok, where the extremists kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014.
“Chibok is now under Boko Haram siege,” Yarkawa said. “Contrary to claims by the government and security operatives, Chibok is not safe.”
The latest attack happened over the weekend on Thlaimaklama village, Yarkawa said. The insurgents arrived at the peak of the harvest, gathering farm produce in 15 vehicles. They burned three other vehicles and several homes without any intervention from the military.
Vigilante leader Balama Abogu confirmed the attacks, saying the vigilantes killed two of the insurgents and recovered some weaponry. The insurgents’ swift attacks have made it difficult to confront them, Abogu said, as he called for more military collaboration.
“The Boko Haram terrorists have been on the move destroying every community they enter,” he said.
Security forces have carried out frequent air and ground raids on Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeastern Maiduguri. Martin Ewi, a researcher with the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, said the recent crackdown on the insurgent group has triggered a change in its tactics.
“They’re short in supplies, which means their attacks now will be focused on amassing the resources they need,” Ewi said.
Nigerian Army Chief Tukur Buratai on Nov. 20 said security officials have defeated Boko Haram and they currently are carrying out “mop-up operations” until the remaining insurgents surrender. But Boko Haram has continued with sporadic attacks across the Chibok area and in parts of Maiduguri.
On Nov. 19, security forces gunned down a suicide bomber at a refugee transit camp in Maiduguri. Five suicide bombers had targeted a police checkpoint and bus station near the camp, killing two civilian self-defense fighters and two of the bombers.
“There’s the pressure to declare Boko Haram defeated,” Ewi said, “but I think we’re still far away from that.”
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Publication date: November 29, 2016