ICC Note: Boko Haram is down but not out. The notorious persecutor of the Church in northern Nigeria has become more of a guerrilla insurgency in the region, striking with a deadly scale, employing young girls as suicide bombers targeting markets, mosques, and churches. Boko Haram may be more dangerous than ever as Nigerian politicians have promised to stamp them out by the end of the year. While the regional military cooperative between Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger has indeed dislodged Boko Haram from much of the territory they controlled ten months ago, the fighters are thought to maintain hideouts in the remote Sambisa Forest and Mandara Mountains regions from where they continue to launch horrific attacks.
By Max Siollun
12/9/15 ABUJA, Nigeria (FP) — Less than a year ago, the militant group Boko Haram controlled an area of northeastern Nigeria the size of Belgium. It was “a mortuary for the uncooperative and prison for the conquered,” as one unlucky resident described it to me at the time, and it threatened to engulf ever more of the country. The brutal Islamist insurgency had sapped the morale and discipline of the Nigerian army and seemed poised to carve out a caliphate that rivaled the one it had pledged loyalty to in Iraq and Syria.
Fast-forward just 10 months and the idea of an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria seems a distant memory. Delusions of statehood caused Boko Haram’s leaders to overreach, inviting a powerful regional military response and bolstering the candidacy of former Nigerian military leader Muhammadu Buhari, who set about crushing the Islamist insurgency after winning the presidency in March. A regional military coalition led by Nigeria has recaptured much of the territory Boko Haram once controlled and driven its fighters into remote regions in Nigeria’s northeastern corner.