Since April of this year, Nigeria’s army has been pushing back hard against Boko Haram, the extremist Islamist insurgency responsible for the death of more than 4000 people since 2009. The fighting has often been brutal, with allegations of atrocities on the army side have damaging the army’s ability to win the hearts and minds of the people.But the battle has gradually boxed in Boko Haram to the north and east of the country. Military leaders have even claimed the Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakr Shekau, was recently killed. The FT reports on the military’s recent strategy:
The military effort has been boosted by the formation of the civilian self-defence groups, who have identified Boko Haram members in urban areas and chased them away. Though they have the support of the military, the vigilantes are only lightly armed, and have been repeatedly attacked by the rebels over the past two months, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
Nevertheless, Boko Haram is still able to extract a deadly toll. It recently managed to behead and mutilate up to 140 of these vigilante fighters in the town of Benisheik in the eastern state of Borno. And its reach is far from territorially contained. As of writing, reports are coming in that a firefight between security forces and several Boko Haram militants has broken out in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.This fight is likely not over.[Photo courtesy Getty Images.]