A recent study of Islamic terrorist activity in 2014 concluded that Boko Haram was the deadliest group, causing 6,664 deaths while ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) accounted for 6,073. ISIL was more successful in publicizing its murders and thus is seen as the most murderous terror group. Internet chatter shows that Boko Haram members and supporters are upset at this and see it as another form of racism by Arabs against black African Moslems. Boko Haram has not been as active in 2015 largely because of increased military activity in the northeast, especially the intervention of more effective troops (and a few hundred South African mercenaries) from neighboring countries. The Americans provided mire aerial surveillance and intelligence assistance. The election of a new president, a former general, helped as well.
As a result of all this in the northeast the army has Boko Haram on the run with more camps being found and destroyed each week and growing evidence that the Islamic terrorists are desperate to find sanctuaries. Many have fled to neighboring countries. Since most Boko Haram bands are broke they must survive by looting and in neighboring countries that triggered a massive response from the army and local police. The cash shortage is a major problem for Boko Haram. This can be seen as those Boko Haram bands that have money can buy supplies and bribe troublesome local officials and tribal leaders. These bands are the most dangerous because they can plan, prepare and carry out terror attacks, especially suicide bombings. The government believes Boko Haram is seeking sources of income and expects the group to send member to other parts of the country to establish criminal operations to raise money. Despite all the setbacks this year Boko Haram still has a lot of appeal among young Moslem men in northern Nigeria. The only solution for that is curbing corruption and improving the economy. That is a more difficult task than waging war on Islamic terrorists.
In the northeast the MNJTF Multi-National Joint Task Force) finally got into action and has shaken up the Boko Haram forces still in the area. Consisting of troops from Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Nigeria. The MNJTF proposed after the success of an international effort earlier in 2015. Starting in late February the Nigerian Army and troops from Niger, Chad and Cameroon spent several months clearing Boko Haram from nearly a hundred towns and villages in the northeast. The help from the foreign troops defeated most Boko Haram groups encountered as the offensive swept the Islamic terrorists from towns and villages that had been occupied since mid-2014. This led to proposals to form an expanded international effort (MNJTF) to carry out another offensive later in the year. Foreign members of MNJTF were eager to push Boko Haram as far away from their borders as possible. In conjunction with the MNJTF operations inside Nigeria each of the coalition nations are also sweeping the areas on their side of the Nigerian border to force Boko Haram men back into Nigeria, or kill those who don’t take the hint.
Nigeria had trouble organizing the MNJTF and at the last minute Chad refused to send its contingent because these troops were busy dealing with Boko Haram operation on the Chad side of the border. This still leaves MNJTF with over 7,000 troops and with the rainy season over the joint operations against Boko Haram are underway.
President Buhari, soon after he came to power in March, ordered investigations into accusations (by troops and civilians) of corruption in the military. This has paid off with several massive thefts already uncovered. Buhari had promised to do this as soon as he came to power but it took time to dig through the complicated paper trail the thieves used to try and hide their crimes. As a former general Buhari knew how important it was to end the cycle of corruption that had left soldiers without weapons and ammo, aircraft unable to fly and ships unable to leave port because funds for this had been stolen. The corruption investigations have already had a positive effect as far fewer officers and officials have sought to steal since Buhari took over. Everyone in uniform has noticed the difference and now details of previous thefts are becoming known. The previous president appointed a senior defense official who is now accused of stealing more than two billion dollars’ worth of money that was supposed to buy weapons and equipment. There will be more revelations along these lines.
The UN revealed that there are now over 2.2 million refugees from Boko Haram violence. In addition several hundred thousand people in neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon have also been displaced by Boko Haram violence. The number of refugees is up ten percent in the last six months. Over 200,000 Nigerians have fled to adjacent countries since 2009 to avoid Boko Haram violence and those nations have been trying to persuade those refugees to go home as soon as possible. Niger is accused of forcing thousands of refugees to move back to Nigeria. Most of these refugees fled since early 2014. Current estimates are that it will take over a year and nearly a billion dollars in emergency aid to deal with the refugees and the economic disruptions caused by all the Boko Haram violence since early 2014, especially in Borno state. It will take years to get over all the trauma and disruptions.
November 19, 2015: In the northeast (Yobe State) troops arrested three of the Boko Haram leaders on the new “Hundred Most Wanted” poster the government began issuing in late October. All those on the poster have rewards (of up to $250,000) offered for information leading to capturing or killing these key Islamic terrorists. Elsewhere in the northeast (Borno State) the air force detected a Boko Haram camp where there was a large gathering of Islamic terrorists. This meeting was bombed causing many casualties.
November 18, 2015: In the northeast (Kano state) two teenage girls operating as Boko Haram suicide bombers killed over fifty people in a crowded phone market as people gathered for evening prayers. Elsewhere in the northeast (Borno State) Boko Haram attacked an army camp near Lake Chad and caused many casualties among the troops. The exact number is unclear as the local reports and the army version are contradictory. There may have been over a hundred army casualties and much looted from the base. Eventually the facts will come out but it takes a while when the army is particularly embarrassed.
November 17, 2015: In the northeast (Adamawa state) two Boko Haram suicide bombers killed over 34 people in a crowded market
Elsewhere in the northeast (Borno State) troops discovered and destroyed a Boko Haram rocket building workshop. In neighboring Yola state a Boko Haram suicide bomber killed 32 people in a crowded produce market.
November 16, 2015: In the northeast (Borno State) troops discovered and destroyed a Boko Haram bomb and rocket building workshop. Troops found chemistry equipment stolen from colleges the Islamic terrorists had raided in the past, as well as chemicals needed to make explosives and propellants. The number of completed bombs found indicated that a major attack was planned and was now disrupted.
November 15, 2015: In the northeast, just across the border in Cameroon a group of ten Boko Haram attacked a village and destroyed a school. Cameroonian soldiers soon arrived and caught up with the attackers and killed five of them. The soldiers failed to find the Boko Haram camp.
November 12, 2015: In the northeast (Borno State) Boko Haram attacked a military base but were repulsed. Seven of the attackers were killed and troops pursued the fleeing Islamic terrorists. Elsewhere in Borno troops rescued 61 civilians held prisoner in a Boko Haram camp. During the brief battle to capture this camp four Islamic terrorists were killed.
In neighboring Niger Boko Haram attacked a village near the Nigerian border and killed five civilians. Troops soon arrived and pursued the Boko Haram men, killing over twenty of them.
November 9, 2015: In the northeast, just across the border in Cameroon, two Boko Haram suicide bombers (teenage girls) set off their explosives prematurely when stopped at a checkpoint. Three nearby Nigerian refugees were also killed. It was believed the bombers were headed for a nearby mosque.
Another Nigerian neighbor in the northeast, Chad, declared a state of emergency in the area near the Nigerian border and Lake Chad. The government has sent over 5,000 troops to clear Boko Haram men out of the area. Thousands of Boko Haram have fled to neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon in the last six months because of increasing pressure from the military inside Nigeria.
November 8, 2015: In Chad Boko Haram gunmen attacked two villages near the Nigerian border leaving three dead and 14 wounded.
November 5, 2015: In neighboring Niger warplanes bombed a group of Boko Haram near the Nigerian border and enabled nearby troops to arrest more than twenty of them. Niger troops discovered this large group of Boko Haram when the Islamic terrorists used a roadside bomb to kill a solider earlier in the week. Niger troops then began searching and when they located the Boko Haram group they called in an air strike as they moved in to try and capture the Islamic terrorists. There were also some dead and wounded in the bombed Boko Haram camp. Niger is having more problems with Boko Haram crossing the border and setting up camps in southeastern Niger. This has disrupted the local economy and, because of Boko Haram threats, caused over 150 schools to be closed. A major operation is underway to clear the Islamic terrorists out of the area.