Boko Haram’s headlines in the media are often different and more infrequent than ISIS (Daesh), with Daesh claiming every recent bombing incident — and doing most of them — but they are still very present and continue to plunder Nigerian villages like the pirates of old, only this is no romantic pirate story. Thankfully, the Nigerian Army continues to be steadfast, and Nigerian troops are to be credited with rescuing more than 800 hostages from Boko Haram Islamic fighters this week.
Although both groups have a radical Islamic terrorist foundation, Daesh is more known for torture and bombing places and people. Boko Haram very often operates more by storming villages and kidnapping people — and not only a few people, but entire villages. Al Jazeera reported today that Nigerian Army troops had executed a “clearance operation” in the northeastern region of Nigeria and freed more than 800 hostages from approximately 12 villages, over 500 of them just from the Kusumma village, with over 20 terrorists killed.
Just two days ago, allAfrica reported that Nigerian forces had rescued over 180 hostages from Boko Haram camps who had been held captive for months. Also, as The Guardian reported just last month, Nigerian forces participated in a joint operation with the Cameroon Army to free 850 villagers from the village of Kumshe, which is located close to the Cameroon border. Authorities also seized weapons, ammunition, and mines from that operation.
Boko Haram’s goal is to create an emirate, a territory under their own jurisdiction, in northeastern Nigeria, similar to what Daesh has said it wants. Their game plan is similar to Daesh in that they hit areas, kill or kidnap the residents, and take over the territory as their own.
Boko Haram is most globally known for its kidnapping of 276 school girls in 2014 from the town of Chibok, after which the terrorist group threatened to sell them “in the marketplace”. Several weeks after 53 of the girls managed to escape the fighters, the 223 girls still being held captive had not been found, and the uproar over the Nigerian government not doing enough to find the missing school girls grew louder.
One year later, CNN reported, the more than 200 girls had still not been found. The horrors many fear they have faced are many. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign went viral and then quieted down, as tides do. However, yet another year later, the account on Twitter is still very active and attempts to keep the interest alive to find these girls.
But Boko Haram has not slowed down. Villages continue to be stormed and destroyed. Women and children continue to be abducted, according to Amnesty International reports. Boko Haram is still intent on building their Islamic world based on Sharia law in the northeastern area of Nigeria. But the Nigerian Army is just as intent on that not happening. They continue to work in conjunction with other troops to fight Boko Haram militants.
In just the last day, Reuters reported that two girls, one barely 15 years old, were detained as suspected suicide bombers. One is being held by Cameroonian soldiers who are part of a multi-national task force that was set up last year specifically to target and combat Boko Haram. The girl declared that she was one of the school girl abductees taken from Chibok in 2014. Her identity is being confirmed by Nigerian authorities.
Boko Haram is using suicide bombers and bomb attacks more frequently the more successful Nigerian forces are in pushing them out of territories once in their control. What may be surprising to some is that the U.S. military has declared Boko Haram the most violent group in the world, but Nigerian forces are gaining ground. In an interview Saturday, Information Minister Lai Mohammed told Al Jazeera that “The Boko Haram insurgency has been massively decimated to the extent that it is no longer in the position to carry out spectacular attacks.”
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