Nigerian security forces have announced that they have killed three and captured 25 members of the Boko Haram militant group operating in northern Nigeria. This development comes two weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan launched a major offensive against the extremist group. After a spree of Boko Haram violence in early May, Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northern Nigerian states allowing him to send in more troops to take on the four-year-old insurgency. Most of Boko Haram’s victims have been targeted because of their Christian religious identity. Suicide bombs at churches and drive-by shootings are just some of the tactics used by the extremist group to terrorize the Christian minority in the north.
5/28/2013 Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerian soldiers have killed three members of Islamist militant sect Boko Haram and arrested 25 more in the northeast, the army said on Tuesday, two weeks after the launch of a major ground and air offensive to crush the group’s four-year rebellion.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on May 14 and ordered thousands of additional troops to the area where Boko Haram has established bases and weapons dumps.
The assault in the remote semi-deserts along the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger is Jonathan’s biggest effort yet to end fighting in which thousands have died. Security sources say soldiers from Niger and Cameroon are also involved.
It follows a surge in violence in Nigeria’s northeast by Islamists who want to establish an Islamic state there. Nigeria’s population of 170 million is split evenly between Christians, who dominate in the south, and Muslims, who are the majority in the north.
Military spokesman Chris Olukolade said one member of the security forces was killed during the operation near the town of Maiduguri. He did not say when the incident happened.
Olukolade said the multi-national task force had also intercepted messages sent between insurgents regrouping near the Cameroon border urging them all to “fight to the end”.
“The attempt by some of them to heed the call was foiled during the weekend … Troops carried out an operation which resulted in the capture and destruction of the insurgents’ assembly points,” he said.
Phone and Internet services have been disconnected for 12 days in northeast Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, making it impossible to verify the military’s statement.