Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his government has “technically” won the fight against Boko Haram but suicide bombers remain a threat, during his remarks released days before his self-imposed ultimatum to tackle the insurgency expires.
During the remarks, Buhari reassured Nigerians that the militants were now unable to conduct "conventional attacks" in the country’s chaotic north east.
He said in an interview published by the BBC on Thursday that "Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs)."
"But articulated conventional attacks on centres of communication and populations... they are no longer capable of doing that effectively," said Buhari.
"So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighbourhoods."
Buhari has given military chiefs a deadline of December by which to eliminate Boko Haram's presence in the country.
However, there are doubts among locals as to whether the deadline can be met as more suicide attacks have hit parts of Nigeria since the order was given in August.
Attacks by the Boko Haram militant group in the region have increased since Buhari took office in May, despite promising to take action against them.
Niger, Chad and Cameroon also suffer from the spillover of Boko Haram’s insurgency, which has a stronghold in the northern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
In the past six years, some 17,000 people have been killed by the militant group, while clashes have left around 2.5 million people displaced.