The Nigerian army is on full alert this morning, warning citizens of a potential attack by the militant group Boko Haram. The attack would target water supplies for cities in Nigeria’s northeast region, where Boko Haram has focused their attacks in recent weeks.
“The Command wishes to inform the general public that Boko Haram terrorists plan to buy large quantities of rat poison and other poisonous items to enable them to poison water sources,” reads the statement from the Nigerian Army.
Government and military officials urge citizens to stock up on clean water and other emergency supplies until the threat has been thoroughly investigated, reports the International Business Times.
This latest threat from Boko Haram comes on the heels of three suicide attacks carried out over the weekend in the northeastern region of Nigeria. The first struck a mosque at around 2 p.m. on Friday, as a young man pushed his way through the crowds gathered for afternoon prayer. Eyewitness accounts suggest that his suicide vest detonated early before he could reach the most crowded area of the mosque. Still, 16 civilians were killed in the attack, the Chicago Tribune reports.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 22, 2015
Also on Friday, two female suicide bombers attacked another mosque killing six people. This attack was carried out in the city of Maiduguri, which has been under siege by Boko Haram in recent months, with suicide attacks carried out nearly every week since September.
The third attack, on Sunday, failed before the Boko Haram militants could reach their target. The blast claimed the lives of all four suicide bombers, and luckily nobody else was injured. The target was a military checkpoint in the city center of Maiduguri. The bombers barely reached the checkpoint before their explosives went off unexpectedly.
Even as the violence escalates in cities throughout Nigeria, the Nigerian government has put the pressure on Boko Haram in recent months, with arrests by the Nigerian secret police throughout the country. According to the Nigerian Army, the attacks are becoming less coordinated, and Boko Haram is growing desperate as their forces are driven out of the embattled northeast region of Nigeria.
In September, the Nigerian secret police arrested some 60 Boko Haram militants, foiling a suspected attack against a lavish estate in Lagos. Just this past week, 45 of the suspected militants were formally charged in a magistrate court.
Despite Boko Haram’s alleged retreat and growing desperation, the group has caused massive devastation to Nigeria. The militant group, modeled after ISIS, continues to wage a vicious insurgent campaign against the Nigerian people. As reported by the Inquisitr, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 15,000 civilians and has driven more than one million people from their homes since the insurgency began in 2009. Boko Haram hoped to oust the Nigerian government from the northeastern region and install itself as a state similar to ISIS.
The fight has escalated in recent months as a result of the ultimatum given to Nigeria’s military forces by the new president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May of this year. He ran on a platform promising to end Boko Haram once and for all and gave his military commanders till the end of the year to do so. Toward that end, he oversaw the restructuring of Nigeria’s Army, Air Force, and Navy, keeping their operational focus on disrupting and dismantling Boko Haram at every opportunity.
The strategy seems to be working. The number of attacks has increased, but they’re no longer the organized operations seen in the past, like the raid which saw dozens of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
This is good news for Nigeria, but Boko Haram’s retreat has caused problems for neighboring nations as the militants flee Nigeria and spill into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
Does Boko Haram really have the resources to pull off an attack on Nigeria’s water supply? Or are they growing desperate as Nigerian forces crack down on the terrorist group?
[Photos by Getty Images]