Boko Haram alive and well and killing

2015-04-10 21:17
In this screen grab from a video made available by Islamist group Boko Haram, leader Abubakar Shekau makes a statement at an undisclosed location. (AFP)

In this screen grab from a video made available by Islamist group Boko Haram, leader Abubakar Shekau makes a statement at an undisclosed location. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gwoza - As the turbaned militant lifted his head from his Qur'an and readied to dash to his anti-aircraft gun, the helicopter pilot stuck the nose of his aircraft into the air and veered away. Then he called in the co-ordinates for an airstrike.

It was a chilling reminder that Boko Haram extremists still are in northeast Nigeria with all sorts of weapons even as Nigeria's military officials boast that they have ousted them from all major towns and forest camps.

Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had tried to set up an "Islamic caliphate" across a great swath of northeast Nigeria.

Just this week, survivors described how the insurgents arrived in a village, saying they had come to preach Islam. When villagers gathered in front of the mosque, the extremists opened fire. When some ran into the mosque, the militants set it ablaze, burning alive some of their victims.

"As I speak to you, all the towns they previously occupied ... have been cleared, so they really have no base," said defence ministry spokesperson Maj Gen Chris Olukolade. "All we are doing at the moment is mopping up and conducting cordon and search for weapons and as many of them as may be straggling."

Boko Haram has been left "marauding from place to place," he told The Associated Press. The AP and journalists from other media organizations were taken on Wednesday by military helicopter to Gwoza, a "newly liberated" city of burned-out buildings.

On the outskirts, an Arabic script sign left by the militants was smashed to the ground. Decomposing bodies lay scattered, including those of a woman and child. Others had lain there long enough to turn to skeletons.

A young man showed reporters the stump from his amputated right hand, chopped off with a machete under the harsh form of Islamic law imposed by the insurgents. They accused him of stealing fuel, a charge he denies.

"I told them I am a mechanic, and they said since you are a mechanic you will work for us," said Hassan Usman, speaking in the local Hausa language. "When I told them I could not work for them, they said they would kill me."

Just 35km away, Cameroonian troops were battling the insurgents, according to reports reaching The Associated Press in Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria.

No contact with Nigeria forces

With soldiers from neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, Boko Haram has been ousted in recent weeks from towns held for months. But Chadian President Idriss Deby has complained that Nigeria's military is not doing its part.

"Two months after the beginning of this war, we have not had a single direct contact on the ground with units of the Nigerian army. This is why, more than once, Chadian forces have been obliged to retake towns and advance again," Deby said in an interview published March 26 in the French magazine Le Point.

Olukolade did not respond directly to questions about border towns that have been seized by Chadian troops who then withdraw, leaving Boko Haram to return.

Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands - a reported 10 000 just last year - and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes.

Nigerians' displeasure over the government's conduct in the war was a factor in their booting President Goodluck Jonathan out of office in March 28 elections - the first time that an opposition politician has ousted an incumbent.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who takes office on May 29, is a former military dictator whom many Nigerian hope will use his military background to definitively stamp out Boko Haram.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  muhammadu buhari  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  chad  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.