Posts Tagged ‘Boko Haram’

U.N. Relations With Nigeria ‘Intact’ After Dispute Over Army Raid

August 12, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — The United Nations’ relationship with Nigeria is intact, a U.N. official said on Saturday, despite a military raid on a compound belonging to the international body in the conflict-ridden northeast.

“I am very pleased to report that our relationship of collaboration and trust is intact,” Peter Lundberg, the U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said at a briefing in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Friday’s raid had threatened to undermine an already-rocky relationship between Nigeria’s military and the United Nations and other aid organizations.

The army said it was a search for members of Islamist insurgency Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the fight against the militants, in an area of the city that included the U.N. compound.

The army and United Nations still disagree over whether the compound was registered and designated as belonging to the U.N.

A worsening of relations between the U.N. and Nigeria could risk destabilizing efforts to deliver aid to almost seven million people affected by the eight-year conflict with Boko Haram, one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

The United Nations on Friday had halted various operations around the northeast, but following reassurances from Nigeria those resumed on Saturday, said Lundberg.

“We are here in support of the government of Nigeria, the United Nations agencies and over 60 non-government organizations,” said Lundberg.

In a separate statement, Ibrahim Attahiru, a commander of Nigeria’s operations against Boko Haram, said the army was not trying to block the United Nations’ activities.

“We will continue to collaborate with the United Nations humanitarian agencies to achieve the goals of the counter-insurgency campaign and other developments to address the humanitarian crisis in the northeast region,” he said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi in Maiduguri; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

US approves sale of war planes to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram

August 4, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A girl walking through the Rann internally displaced persons camp in northeastern Nigeria after the January 2017 bombing by the Nigerian military that killed 112 civilians
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The State Department has approved the sale of US warplanes to Nigeria to aid its fight against Boko Haram militants, ending a suspension of weapons sales that followed a deadly Nigerian military strike on a refugee camp.The State Department informed Congress late Wednesday it had approved the $593 million sale of 12 Super Tucano A-29 ground attack aircraft, a deal that includes supplying the Nigerian armed forces with ammunition, training and aircraft maintenance, a US official said.

Image result for Super Tucano A-29, photos

Super Tucano A-29

The US Air Force last year supplied such aircraft — bought from Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer — to the Afghan military to help it fight the Taliban.

“These aircraft offer improved targeting capabilities, allowing Nigeria to more effectively lead the fight against Boko Haram and the ISIS West Africa branch, while also potentially reducing risks of collateral damage and civilian casualties,” said the US official, who asked not to be identified.

The training that the US intends to provide to Nigerian pilots “would help build the skills and procedures to effectively and responsibly operate the aircraft in accordance with international human rights law and the law of armed conflict,” the official said.

The sale was initially unveiled in May 2016 but the Democratic administration of former president Barack Obama froze the deal just before handing over the reins of power to President Donald Trump in January, after the Nigerian military accidentally bombed a camp for people displaced by the conflict in the northeast, killing 112 civilians.

Congress now has 30 days to decide on whether to approve the deal. If no opposition is voiced, the administration can go ahead with the arms sale.

Boko Haram, which has allied itself with the Islamic State, has been leading a bloody jihadist insurrection in Nigeria since 2009 that has left at least 20,000 people dead and forced another 2.6 million people from their homes.

Thousands of women and girls have been kidnapped and forced into marriage with Islamist insurgents or made to carry out suicide bomb attacks.

Last week, the military was ordered to strengthen its response to Boko Haram after 69 people were killed in an ambush.

Boko Haram wing tied to IS marks resurgence by kidnapping oil workers

August 2, 2017

AUGUST 2, 2017 / 12:56 PM

By Alexis Akwagyiram
Reuters

LAGOS (Reuters) – A Boko Haram faction with ties to Islamic State and responsible for the kidnapping of a Nigerian oil prospecting team which led to at least 37 people being killed has become a deadly force capable of carrying out highly-organized attacks.

Nigerian government forces have focused on crushing the best-known branch of the Islamist militant group whose leader Abubakar Shekau has led an eight-year insurgency to create an Islamic state in the northeast which has killed thousands.

But while Nigeria has claimed the capture of Shekau’s main base in the Sambisa forest and freed many of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his faction in April 2014 in Chibok town, a rival wing has developed the capacity to carry out attacks on a larger scale.

Image result for Boko Haram, nigeria, photos

At least 37 people, including members of the team, rescuers from the military and vigilantes, died last week when security forces tried to free those being held by the Boko Haram faction led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi who is trying to thwart government efforts to explore for oil in the Lake Chad Basin.

That wing is “much better organized than the Shekau faction” which typically stages suicide bombings in mosques and markets, said Malte Liewerscheidt, senior Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft consultancy group.

“The Shekau faction does not seem to have a clear ideology or any strategy,” said Liewerscheidt. That makes it easier for al-Barnawi’s faction to recruit whereas Shekau’s faction was not trusted by locals, he said.

And despite the assessment that it is less organized, Shekau’s faction has stepped up suicide bombings in the last few weeks, killing at least 113 people since June 1, according to a Reuters tally.

The combined attacks by the two wings marks a resurgence by the group, months after President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement in December 2016 that Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest had been captured.

Boko Haram, which has killed more than 20,000 people and forced some 2.7 million to flee their homes since 2009, split last year.

The division led by Shekau, Boko Haram’s most recognizable figure known for videos taunting Nigerian authorities circulated on social media, operates in the northeastern Sambisa forest and usually deploys girls as suicide bombers.

Is Named Al-Barnawi

But, since Islamic State named al-Barnawi as Boko Haram’s leader in August 2016 after the west African militants pledged allegiance the previous year, his Lake Chad-based faction has been moving fighters and ammunition across porous borders in northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Boko Haram militants (in camouflage) embrace and shake hands with Boko Haram prisoners, released in exchange for a group of 82 Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by Islamist militants, near Kumshe, Nigeria, May 6, 2017.Zanah Mustapha/File Photo

The head of a private Nigerian security firm, who did not want to be named, said al-Barnawi’s IS affiliation meant his wing benefits from sub-Saharan trade routes to ship weapons from lawless Libya where Islamic State is active.

His group has been planning a larger scale attack for some time, said a Western diplomat, speaking anonymously.

Boko Haram launched two attacks in June – the most prolonged raid on the northeastern city of Maiduguri in 18 months and an attack on a police convoy – which were more ambitious than routine suicide attacks. Shekau’s faction is widely believed to have been behind the two attacks.

Buhari has repeatedly said the insurgents are on the verge of defeat since the army, helped by neighboring countries, wrested back most of the land in Nigeria’s northeast, an area the size of Belgium, that the militants took in early 2015.

Nigerian military vehicle

Nigeria’s military has been battling the insurgents since 2009. AFP photo

A military vehicle drives into the Emir’s palace in Bama, which was the former headquarters of the Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno, Nigeria, August 31, 2016.Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

But security experts say the territorial gain has given a false impression because much of the liberated areas beyond main roads patrolled by the army remain no-go areas where displaced people cannot return to farm.

“While insurgent-held territory has been recaptured, this was conflated with a military victory,” said Ryan Cummings, director of Africa-focused risk management company Signal Risk.

“All that has happened is that Boko Haram has reverted to the asymmetrical armed campaign it had waged for the seven out of the eight years of its armed campaign against the Nigerian state,” he said.

The military has been forced to concentrate forces around Maiduguri, capital of the insurgency’s birthplace, Borno state, where Shekau’s faction has stepped up suicide bombings, which now occur on a near-daily basis.

Ransom Money

A security analyst said Shekau’s wing used ransom money paid by the government to free Chibok girls to buy weapons and recruit fighters — the attacks stepped up after a deal was brokered in May to free 82 of them.

The return of experienced commanders freed in exchange for the girls had also bolstered his group, said the analyst, who asked not to be named. “The fact that they were held for some time suggests they were serious players,” he said.

Acting-President Yemi Osinbajo, in power while Buhari takes medical leave in Britain for an unspecified ailment, responded to the oil team’s abduction and frequent attacks by ordering military chiefs to “scale up their efforts” in Borno, according to a statement.

The military said armed forces chiefs relocated to Maiduguri on August 1. “This move and action are expected to give impetus to the military effort,” it said, without elaborating. The theater army commander is already based in the city.

Additional reporting by Paul Carsten in Abuja; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Peter Millership

Related:

*************************************************

New Boko Haram Leader, Al-Barnawi Is The Son Of Executed Founder Of Boko Haram

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Strong indication emerged yesterday that the new Boko Haram leader, Abu Musab al -Barnawi, is the son of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, according to a Boko Haram insider.

The source told Cable Network news (CNN) that al-Barnawi, who is about 25 years – old was the second son of Yusuf, who founded the group in 2002 and was captured and executed after a clash with Nigerian security forces in 2009.

The insider said there was a split in the ranks of the Boko Haram terror group three months ago, which led to Barnawi, known as Habib Yusuf within the group, to leave the Sambisa forest where the sect are believed to be hiding out.

He re-emerged this week after he was introduced as the new leader of the terrorist sect in an interview in the ISIS’ magazine al -Naba. Boko Haram has long had links with ISIS, pledging allegiance to the group in March.

Similarly, al – Barnawi in an interview published by an online news portal, The Japan Times, had revealed that his major targets, is to bomb churches and kill Christians, while ending attacks on mosques and markets used by ordinary Muslims.

In the interview, al-Barnawi said under his leadership, the militants would work to seize back territory.

Even though al-Barnawi is now supposedly the leader of Boko Haram , the source told CNN that the group’s long – time leader, Abubakar Shekau, still has the larger number of followers in the Sambisa forest and crucially has control of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

Image result for Abubakar Shekau, photos

Abubakar Shekau

The schoolgirls are seen as a powerful bargaining chip for the terrorist group, whose base has been significantly weakened.

Western intelligence sources close to negotiations believe, however, that the defection of manpower and erosion of support leaves Shekau more exposed and could possibly lead to a breakthrough in the search for the abducted girls.

The Boko Haram source told CNN that al- Barnawi was Boko Haram’s head of armoury before he fell out with Shekau and left with some followers.

The source said: “ Shekau is seen as erratic and disorganised and Habib didn’t agree with a lot of his decisions anymore.”

http://www.naijaloaded.com.ng/others/new-boko-haram-leader-al-barnawi-son-executed-founder-boko-haram-photo

Boko Haram Extremists Storm Nigeria Village, Killing 7

August 2, 2017

YOLA, Nigeria — Authorities in northern Nigeria say Boko Haram extremists have killed at least seven people in an attack on a village where they burned homes and shops to the ground.

Fleeing residents said the fighters stormed Mildu village late Tuesday.

The community is not far from the Sambisa Forest, which was a Boko Haram stronghold before Nigeria’s military announced it had regained control of the area late last year.

Muhammad Yusuf, the chairman of a local council, says seven people have been confirmed dead though the figure could rise.

Boko Haram’s insurgency in an attempt to enforce strict Islamic Shariah rule has killed more than 20,000 and displaced about 3 million people, mostly women and children, since 2009.

14 Dead After Suicide Bombing in Northeastern Nigeria — Bombing blamed on the Boko Haram extremist group

July 29, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Authorities in northeastern Nigeria say at least 14 people are dead after a suicide bombing blamed on the Boko Haram extremist group.

Bello Dambatta, head of the rapid response team for the State Emergency Agency SEMA, said a female suicide bomber sneaked into a building late Friday in Dikwa, east of the city of Maiduguri, and detonated her explosives.

Volunteers said at least two dozen others were wounded and had to wait until Saturday morning to be evacuated because of safety concerns and the lack of phone service.

Meanwhile, three geologists abducted in an ambush attack Tuesday by Boko Haram insurgents have appeared in new video calling on the Nigerian government to negotiate the workers’ release. Authorities say at least 48 people were killed in that attack near Lake Chad.

Related:

***************************************

‘More than 40’ killed in battle with Boko Haram in Nigeria

BBC News

Nigerian military vehicle
Nigeria’s military has been battling the insurgents since 2009. AFP photo

More than 40 people have died in north-east Nigeria during an attempt to free people who had been ambushed in a convoy by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, sources have told the BBC.

At least five members of an oil exploration team were killed and soldiers also died.

Army chiefs have now been ordered to relocate to the affected area.

The high number of casualties will be a blow for the government, which insists the insurgency is all but defeated.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and thousands more abducted since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in the city of Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria, in 2009.

In the most notorious abduction case, it seized 276 girls from a boarding school in the north-eastern town of Chibok in 2014.

It has since freed more than 100 of the girls, in exchange for the release of its fighters detained by Nigeria’s security forces.

‘Death toll mounting’

Details of what happened on Tuesday remain unclear, with initial reports from the army suggesting the abducted geologists and surveyors, who worked at the University of Maiduguri, had been rescued.

On Tuesday, the army said the bodies of nine Nigerian soldiers and a civilian had been recovered.

But now the university has said at least five members of staff, including two academics and a driver, were killed when the heavily armed convoy made its way back to Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria.

Several others remain missing.

“We got the impression our staff on the team were rescued because that was what the military spokesman said yesterday,” Maiduguri University spokesman Dani Mamman said, quoted by AFP.

“But we were shocked when we were given four dead bodies. This means it wasn’t a rescue. We still have other staff that are yet to be accounted for.”

Sources told the BBC that more than 40 people, most of them soldiers and volunteers from a vigilante group, had been killed in total – although other sources suggest the number killed may rise further still.

“The death toll keeps mounting,” a source told AFP, adding: “More bodies are coming in.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40740323

Nigeria: Kidnapped oil workers speak on Boko Haram video

July 29, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Nigerian soldiers prepare to head off in search of Boko Haram militants outside Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria, in March 2016

LAGOS (AFP) – Boko Haram Islamists have published a video showing three kidnapped members of an oil exploration team, after an ambush in northeast Nigeria earlier this week that killed at least 50.In the four-minute video, the trio identify themselves as being from the University of Maiduguri and call on the government to meet the jihadists’ demands in exchange for their safe return.

The men were part of a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) team on a mission to find commercial quantities of oil in the Lake Chad basin when they came under attack on Tuesday.

“I want to call on the acting president professor Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue to meet the demand,” one of the men said on the video, which he said was shot on Friday.

He attributed the attack to the Islamic State-supported Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, which has promised to hit military and government targets.

“They have promised us that if their demands are met they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were caught doing,” the man added.

There was no indication of where the video was shot but the convoy came under attack near Magumeri, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) by road northwest of Maiduguri.

Most of the victims were soldiers and civilian militia members providing security.

University of Maiduguri spokesman Danjuma Gambo confirmed the three kidnapped men were from the institution, whose campus in the city has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram suicide bombers in recent months.

“They are our staff but one more is yet to be accounted for,” he told AFP.

Experts said the attack — Boko Haram’s bloodiest this year — underscored the persistent threat posed by the jihadists, despite government claims the group is a spent force.

Related:

Image result for Goodluck Jonathan, photos

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

A member of

A member of “Bring Back Our Girls” movement carries placard to press for the release of the missing Chibok schoolgirls in Lagos, on April 14, 2016 ©PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (AFP/File)

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

U.N. Urges Nigeria to Rescue All Chibok Girls, Ensure Schooling — Chibok girls were abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria in April 2014 — “Bring Back Our Girls” No Match For Nigerian Government

July 24, 2017

GENEVA — A United Nations human rights committee called on the Nigerian government on Monday to step up efforts to rescue all women and girls abducted by Boko Haram and to ensure they return to school without stigma.

Roughly 100 of the 270 girls abducted by the Islamist militants at their secondary school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria in April 2014 have been released and another 60 have escaped, but about 100 are still believed to be in captivity.

Nigeria was one of eight countries whose records were examined by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at a three-week session.

Nigeria should “intensify its efforts to rescue all women and girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents, ensure their rehabilitation and integration into society and provide them and their families with access to psychological and other rehabilitation services,” said the U.N. panel of 23 experts.

Boko Haram has killed 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate. Although the Chibok girls are the most high-profile case, Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of adults and children, many of whose cases are neglected, aid groups say.

Girls who were abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Damasak in Borno State in April and November 2014, “continue to be subjected to rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage and impregnation by Boko Haram insurgents,” the panel said.

“Of course we commended (Nigeria) for the rescue of 100 of them who are currently, we’re told, kept in Abuja, going through psycho-social counselling,” panel member Hilary Gbedemah told Reuters.

Many girls in the northeast have dropped out of school due to the insurgency and schools must be secured to protect students, the panel said.

(Reporting and writing by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Related:

Image result for Goodluck Jonathan, photos

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

A member of

A member of “Bring Back Our Girls” movement carries placard to press for the release of the missing Chibok schoolgirls in Lagos, on April 14, 2016 ©PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (AFP/File)

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

At Least 8 Dead After Suicide Bombers Hit Camps in Nigeria — Believed to Be Boko Haram — Nigeria’s government declared the group “crushed” last year

July 24, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — At least eight people are dead after female suicide bombers attacked two displaced persons camps in northeastern Nigeria’s main city, a civilian self-defense group said Monday. It was the first major attack on a displaced persons camp in Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Boko Haram extremist insurgency.

The attack started late Sunday night and left another 15 people wounded, spokesman Bello Danbatta with the Civilian-JTF group told The Associated Press.

Image result for Tukur Buratai, photos

Chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai

The Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram often targets the city with suicide bombers and increasingly has been using female ones. Nigeria’s government late last year declared the group “crushed” but dozens of such attacks have been carried out this year.

The latest bombings occurred a few days after Nigeria’s army chief of staff issued a 40-day deadline for troops to flush out Boko Haram’s leader and finish off the extremist group.

 Image result for Dalori camp, nigeria, photos
Dalori camp

Danbatta said one bomber sneaked into the Dalori camp and detonated, and two other attackers exploded on or near the camp’s perimeter fence. Another bomber detonated early Monday morning.

Thousands of people continue to shelter in camps after being forced from their homes by Boko Haram. The extremist group’s eight-year insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people, kidnapped thousands of others, spilled into neighboring countries and created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.

Nigeria is moving closer to famine, with more than 5 million people expected to face “crisis, emergency and famine conditions” by the end of August as the lean season continues, the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement Monday. The unrest has disrupted farming and access to markets in the region.

Image result for Dalori camp, nigeria, photos

Dalori camp

Related:

Nigeria: 3 female Boko Haram terrorists killed — Army Chief of Staff wants Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau apprehended dead or alive

July 23, 2017

Author: Omotayo Yusuf

-The army intensified its attack against Boko Haram terrorists in Borno

-Three female terrorists trying to access a military location were killed

– Some terrorists were also ambushed with their bicycles and food items recovered

Three female Boko Haram terrorists trying to gain access into a military location were neutralised just as the army ambushed some terrorists in a separate operation.

This is coming following a 40-day ultimatum issued by the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai that Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau should be apprehended dead or alive.

Image result for Tukur Buratai, photos

Chief of army staff, TukurBuratai

In a statement issued by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman who is the spokesperson of the army, he said the attack was carried out on Saturday, July 22. Aftermath of the attack by 3 female terrorists in Borno.

“Troops of 103 Battalion, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, on Saturday 22nd July 2017 neutralized 3 female suicide bombers trying to infiltrate their location in the morning at Kawuri, Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.

Image result for NAIJ.com, logo

“The female suicide bombers who were on obvious mission of committing mayhem, where spotted by a vigilant sentry while they were trying to access the military location. They were however challenged severally and continued advancing, declining several warnings to stop. Consequently, the troops neutralized them instantly.

The remains of the suicide bombers have since been evacuated from the location. Bicycles were recovered from terrorists by the army.

“The general public is please requested to continue to support troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and report any suspicious movements of persons to the military or security agencies.”

Also, some terrorists were also ambushed in a separate attack in Mayanti village with one of them killed while the rest sustained injuries.

“The troops of 151 Battalion, 21 Brigade Nigerian Army, on Operation LAFIYA DOLE, today, Saturday 22nd July 2017, ambushed Boko Haram terrorists at Mayanti village while on patrol along Mayanti- Banki Junction road.

“The troops neutralized 1 of the terrorists, while others sustained gun shot wounds. “They recovered 10 Bicycles, 9 bags of flour, 9 sachets of yeast, 2 bags of groundnut, packets of Maggi, a carton of detergent, 23 bottles of groundnut oil. Others include palm oil, a wrist watch, 50 sachets of salt, assorted drugs, 16 torchlights, 29 packs of cold patch and cash sum of Two thousand, Two hundred and Sixty-Six Naira.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian military attributed the mistake bombing at an internally displaced persons camp in Rann, Borno state to lack of appropriate markings. In a statement released by the Defence Headquarters on Saturday, July 23, on the bombing and two major issues in the force, the military said boards of inquiries were constituted. The DHQ in its statement said it was provided with the reports of all the boards constituted, to investigate the various incidents.

Read more: https://www.naij.com/1116390-3-female-boko-haram-terrorists-killed-attack-photos.html

****************************************

Nigerian army orders troops to capture Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, within 40 days

Shekau

The Nigerian Army has given its troops an ultimatum to capture Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, handed down the order on Friday to the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Ibrahim Attahiru, according to a statement issued by the spokesperson of the army, Sani Usman.

Mr. Buratai, a lieutenant general, said the Boko Haram leader must be captured dead or alive within 40 days, the statement said, adding that Mr. Attahiru, a major general, was directed to employ every weapon available in his arsenal “to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria”.

“The general public is pleased requested to also assist and volunteer information that would lead to the accomplishment of this task,” the army spokesperson said in the statement.

The military had several times in the past claimed it had killed Mr. Shekau, only for the Boko Haram leader to later show up in videos mocking either the military or the nation’s top officials.

On August 23, 2016, Mr. Sani himself had issued a statement announcing that Mr. Shekau was inflicted with “fatal injury” in a major air strike on Boko Haram’s location in the dreaded Sambisa Forest.

Mr. Sani, a brigadier general, said at the time that the bombardment was carried out while Mr. Shekau was leading his group in performing the Friday prayers at a secret location called Tayye in the heart of the vast forest.

The military had by that time too repeatedly claimed credit for killing Mr. Shekau. But the sect denounced the claims each time saying its leader remained alive.

The military however insisted that the original Abubakar Shekau had long been killed, and that the so-called Abubakar Shekau said to be alive was a made-up character.

On March 28 this year, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, after which he reassured Nigerians that the army would soon apprehend Mr. Shekau.

“If you have had the opportunity to go to Sambisa (forest in Borno), you will know that Boko Haram has been defeated, go and see what is happening in Sambisa.

“We have dominated the whole stronghold where they used to be, there is where we call ‘camp zairo’ where their spiritual and their strong headquarters that they were using as communication base was destroyed and as at the same time occupied by our men of the armed forces.

“So, I believe it’s just a matter of time, it took America about seven to 10 years to get Bin Laden so we will get Shekau as soon as possible.

“I told you before now, the spiritual headquarters has been ransacked and vandalized. He (Shekau) is on the run, so he may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest that we are dominating.

“We have opened up the place; we are using it as a training area whereby the army engineers will open roads. We shall be patrolling and be ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,’’ he said.

Four female suicide bombers kill 15 in Maiduguri, Nigeria — Boko Haram, Islamic State group affiliate

July 12, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Boko Haram has intensified suicide attacks in and around Maiduguri in recent months after losing territory to the Nigerian military

MAIDUGURI (NIGERIA) (AFP) – At least 15 people were killed when four female suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, police said on Wednesday, in the latest violence to hit the strategic city.

Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters the four struck in the suburb of Molai Kalemari on Tuesday night and that most of the victims were civilian militia manning security posts.

“The bombers detonated IEDs (improvised explosive devices) strapped to their bodies at different locations of the area, killing 19 people, including the bombers,” he said.

“A total of 23 people were injured.”

Bello Danbatta, a spokesman for the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) militia and chief security officer at the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said it appeared his men were the targets.

Two of the bombers blew themselves up at checkpoints manned by militia members, who assist the military with security and sometimes accompany soldiers on operations against Boko Haram jihadists.

“In all we lost 12 of our gallant JTF,” he said.

He added: “Civilian JTF have sacrificed their lives to protect their people and the life and property of the citizens of Borno state.

“We sacrificed our life, inshallah (God willing), we continue to fight this insurgency.”

SEMA operatives in face-masks and white overalls were on Wednesday seen removing body parts from the scene of the attacks. Victims were covered with rugs awaiting burial, as local people looked on.

Suicide bombings have become a feature of Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria, which has killed at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.6 million others homeless.

Young women and girls have frequently been used to attack security checkpoints, as well as civilian “soft targets” such as mosques, markets and bus stations.

Nine people were killed in a string of suicide bomb attacks in the city last month around the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The University of Maiduguri, which lies on the edge of the city, has become a frequent target since the start of the year, as it teaches the “western” education despised by the Islamic State group affiliate.

Nigeria’s military and government maintain the group is a spent force and on the verge of defeat as a result of sustained counter-insurgency operations since early 2015.

But sporadic fighting still occurs, while mines and blasts remain a constant threat.

Boko Haram this week released a video showing executions and amputations for alleged infringements of its strict interpretation of Islam, suggesting it still holds territory in some areas.