After recapturing a large percentage of areas under Boko Haram’s control, the Nigerian military may be back to point zero

After destroying all known Boko Haram camps last year, the Nigerian military has just recorded a major setback in recapturing these areas. At least five people have died in the reclaimed town of Gwoza, Borno State, after a male suicide bomber successfully launched an attack killing returnees who were recently displaced, said witnesses and security sources. Gwoza is about 123km southwest of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and the Izge community in Gwoza has been one of the worst hit areas in the state. This comes shortly after it was reported that 24 Boko Haram militants were killed in Cameroon in an effort to end the insurgency in West Africa.

A source told local news agency, Leadership, that “the bomber, whom they described as a man, moved into a crowded area of Izge where some of our people are now putting up under makeshift pavilions and detonated himself. Five persons were killed including the bomber, [while many children] were seriously injured.”

Nigeria celebrated a major victory against Boko Haram last year when the military, supported by the Republic of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, launched an aggressive attack against the insurgency for six weeks. This culminated in the recapturing of a large percentage of territories previously under Boko Haram’s control at the time. The destruction of these camps yielded 128 suspected Boko Haram members to the Borno state government. After being interrogated by the Nigerian army, the suspects were released to the state government, stating they, reportedly, had no ties with the radical group. Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai presented the released suspects comprising of 109 men, seven women, 11 boys and one unattached teenager, to the state governor, Kashim Shettima, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Still, after the military seemed to have been successful in weakening the terrorist group, the group’s mode of operation only evolved. About a week ago, nearly 50 people were reported dead following suicide attacks and bombings in two cities in northern Nigeria after the group’s fighters were involved in a shoot-out with Nigerian soldiers in Aladuwari village, near Maiduguri. The first blast took place at a mosque in a Maiduguri residential area, the same area where the army was involved in a heated gun battle with suspected Boko Haram fighters the day before. The second was a suicide bomb attack in a crowded meat and fish market South of Borno in Madagali in Adamawa state.

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