Pressure is increasing on Boko Haram in Nigeria

Boko Haram is losing ground in Nigeria and “no longer controls towns and villages”, according to Fr Patrick Tor Alumuku, director of Social Communications in the Archdiocese of Abuja.

“Boko Haram is no longer what it was once, it is no longer able to occupy entire areas. Its men are hiding in the forest in northern Nigeria or have moved to neighbouring states, as demonstrated by the recent assaults in Cameroon, Chad and Niger,” said Fr Alumuku.

The priest’s claims might seem to run contrary to recent reports of attacks by the terrorist group on villages in northern Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, killing 43 people. However, Fr Alumuku said, these attacks took place in retaliation to the three countries having formed a coalition to fight the jihadists.

President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that Boko Haram is reacting to prove it is still be able to hit despite strong military pressure, but commentators have blamed recent attacks on the president’s decision to abolish military checkpoints because internal security is a police responsibility.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the president dismissed his national security adviser and many leading officers in the Nigerian army, navy and air force. Nigeria media report that he has replaced these officers with merit-based candidates, two of whom are from Borno State, where most Boko Haram attacks have been focused.

President Buhari visited Washington DC on Monday July 20 to seek help from the United States against Boko Haram. The United States has already promised to help fund an African Union coalition force that will combat Boko Haram.