Fragile peace is holding in Nigeria

2016-07-16 15:22
(Lekan Oyekanmi, AP)

(Lekan Oyekanmi, AP)

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Kano - Nigeria's military has clawed back swathes of territory held by Boko Haram, opening up routes once infested with Islamist fighters, allowing life to resume for people in the remote region.

But locals in the northeast say the Islamists are still a security risk and far from defeated, sounding a note of caution to government and military claims that victory is near.

Aid agencies meanwhile have said parts of Borno state remain inaccessible, highlighting the threat of severe acute malnutritin - and even famine - to tens of thousands of people.

Certainly there has been progress compared to 2014, when the militants controlled territory the size of Belgium with a self-declared caliphate that threatened Nigeria's sovereignty.

The military last week announced the reopening of the strategic 140km trade route linking the Borno state capital Maiduguri to Gamboru on the border with Cameroon.

Trucks laden with goods and passenger vehicles have since been plying the road under military escort and a state government committee has been formed to oversee transportation.

Supply of goods

Boko Haram seized Gamboru in August 2014, forcing thousands to flee to Fotokol on the other side of the river that forms the border with Cameroon.

Chadian forces, who have been involved in the regional counter-insurgency, retook Gamboru in February 2015 after intense fighting that left hundreds of insurgents dead.

Residents began returning the following month and since the road re-opened, there has been "a huge influx" of people from Maiduguri, said resident Umar Ari.

"Commercial activities are fast picking up with the resumption of supply of goods from Maiduguri. Some people have started rebuilding their homes," he added.

"Residents of Gamboru have resumed work on their farms that have been lying fallow for two crop seasons."

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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