Boko Haram ‘Technically Defeated’ – President

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Nigeria has “technically won the war” against Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.

He told the BBC in an interview aired on television that the militant group could no longer mount “conventional attacks” against security forces or population centres.

According to him, the sect had been reduced to fighting with Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) and remained a force only in its heartland of Borno state.

It was the second time in 24 hours that the government would proclaim victory over the sect whose activities has led to the death of over 1,000 people and whose sphere of operation had expanded to neighbouring countries –Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Wednesday that the war against the sect had been “largely won.”

Boko Haram has been described as one of the world’s deadliest terror groups.

Critics of the government argue that it has exaggerated the scale of its success against the militants, and that each time the army claims to have wiped out Boko Haram, the militants have quietly rebuilt.

But the President told the BBC that the jihadists had been driven out from Adamawa and Yobe states, and their way of operating curtailed.

“Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” he said. “Indoctrinating young guys… they have now been reduced to that.

“But articulated conventional attacks on centres of communication and populations.. they are no longer capable of doing that effectively.

“So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighbourhoods. Boko Haram as an organised fighting force, I assure you, that we have dealt with them.”

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Buhari said Nigeria had reorganised and reequipped the military, which had received training from the British, the Americans and the French.

A key priority for the government now, he said, is to rebuild infrastructure and help all displaced people to return to their homes.

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