Battling Boko Haram: Mixed fortunes in Nigeria's fight against insurgency
Nigeria has been fighting Boko Haram militants for the past ten years. The group has been trying to overthrow the government to create what it calls an Islamic state. Nigerian authorities have had some successes against Boko Haram. But huge challenges remain. Phil Ihaza reports from Abuja.
The aftermath of a suicide bomb attack on a busy shopping district in Nigeria's capital, Abuja in 2014. Boko Haram was not always involved in this kind of violence. It was founded in 2002 as a group to teach Islamic doctrine. But in 2009, the founder of Boko Haram, Muhammed Yussuf was killed in custody after he was arrested for preaching hate against the government. Since then, the group has launched repeated deadly attacks and a full-blown insurgency developed. Analysts say the war has lingered because the root cause has not been tackled.
MAJEED DAHIRU POLITICAL AND SECURITY ANALYST "No amount of military might can defeat an ideology, for every Boko Haram insurgent you kill in the battlefield, there is a steady replacement, such a war becomes intractable. Yes, we know there are issues of corruption, inefficiency and all of that, even the most efficient military cannot defeat an insurgency that is ideologically induced until you tackle that ideology."
According to the Council on Foreign Relations' Security Tracker, the group has killed over 35,000 people and displaced over 2 million in Nigeria. Boko Haram has also carried out kidnappings including those of hundreds of Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted in 2014. The Nigerian military says it has made significant progress against Boko Haram.
GARBA SHEHU PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER "The military is carrying out the final activity exercises in the Sambisa forest which is the last foothold that the insurgents have."
The government claims the terrorists are scrambling from one remote location to another in what it says are the desperate last acts of a fading fighting force.
PHIL IHAZA ABUJA, NIGERIA "President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his commitment to ending the insurgency and restoring peace in the country. The government has also formed a multi-national joint task force military operation with Chad, Niger and other countries around the lake chad region geared toward tackling the insurgency."
But there is more work to do.
MAJEED DAHIRU POLITICAL AND SECURITY ANALYST "The solution to this is a fundamental re-orientation of Nigerians to begin to reconcile their faith and their citizenship and begin to get mainstream Muslim leaders, get them to begin to preach things that mitigate against radicalization."
And so ten years on, those affected by Boko Haram's campaign of terror know there is unlikely to be any quick fix. Phil Ihaza, CGTN, A, N.