BFF-36 Nigeria claims ‘normalcy restored’ after Boko Haram attack
Nigeria claims ‘normalcy restored’ after Boko Haram attack
ABUJA, Sept 9, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Nigeria’s military on Sunday said it had
restored order after Boko Haram fighters took control of a town in the
country’s remote northeast, sparking fears about the group’s resurgence.
Scores of jihadists believed to be loyal to a faction backed by the Islamic
State group overran troops in Gudumbali on Friday, according to local
officials and security sources.
At least eight civilians were thought to have been killed and thousands
more forced to flee, in what was the Islamist extremists’ first major seizure
of a town in two years.
It also followed a series of deadly attacks on troops, which have called
into question repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram is
weakened to the point of defeat.
Nigerian Army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, who on Saturday
said he was “not aware” of the attack, on Sunday confirmed the incident.
“The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set
some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community,” he said in a
“However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. The troops have
regrouped and normalcy has been restored. The troops have also been
reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.”
Nigeria’s military regularly trumpets its apparent successes against Boko
Haram and has strongly denied previous reports of army casualties in attacks.
There was no independent verification of Chukwu’s claim, as access to areas
outside the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, is tightly controlled by the
Nine years of conflict, which has claimed at least 20,000 lives in
northeast Nigeria, has also destroyed telecommunications infrastructure in
Gudumbali is the Guzamala area of Borno and one of a number of places where
people displaced by the long-running conflict have been encouraged to return.
Aid agencies dealing with the humanitarian effects of the insurgency
believe the returns are being dictated by politics, with elections scheduled
for February next year.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat
Boko Haram, is hoping to secure a second, four-year term.
He first said Boko Haram was “technically defeated” in late 2015 and
recently said Borno was in a “post-conflict stabilisation phase”, despite the
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction broke away in 2016
because of long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau’s indiscriminate
targeting of civilians.
ISWAP is believed to be trying to get the support of local people in the
Muslim-majority region by only hitting government and military targets.
Chukwu called for people to “remain calm and resilient” but also to be
aware of “strange faces to prevent fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from
infiltrating and hibernating in their communities”.