Nigeria’s military given deadline to end Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari gives a three-month deadline to his military leaders to end Boko Haram’s violence

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari salutes his supporters during his Inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari gives his country’s newly appointed military leaders a three-month deadline to defeat Boko Haram, at their swearing-in ceremony.

Boko Haram’s six-year deadly assaults long crippled the African nation’s security. The latest attack by the insurgency was on Tuesday when a deadly raid by the militant group left six villagers dead outside Nigeria’s northeastern city Maiduguri in Borno state.

Buhari, a former army general, expects the military chiefs to work closely in a “joint effort” with neighbors of Chad, Cameroon and Niger with their fight against Boko Haram.

"You need to brace up and continue to team up with other stakeholders to come up with a well-coordinated joint effort which will bring a desired end to these insurgencies within three months," Mr Buhari told the chiefs in the capital Abuja.

He added that the troops would be given the required resources to achieve the “feat”, but also urging the forces to abide by the law when confronting the insurgency.

"In particular you must protect innocent civilians and respect the rights of combatants," he said.

The air force stated following the ceremony that it had deployed additional firepower to the north-east "in a renewed drive to crush the fighting will" of Boko Haram insurgency, that included fighter jets, attack helicopters and ATR-42 planes, without releasing any numbers.

Buhari has appointed two commanders, Maj Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Monguno, who are both from north-eastern Borno state, which is located at the heart of the conflict with Boko Haram.

The president hopes that the following deadline along with the help from the neighboring countries could enable the troops to have a good handle on what is needed to end the violence, according to analysts.

Buhari promised to tackle the insurgency “head on” following his election in May, making a strong five-nation regional force of 8,700 troops to tackle the conflict.

"The activities of these misguided groups and individuals have resulted in wanton destruction of lives and properties of our citizens and a disruption of social economic lives of millions of Nigerians," Buhari said.

At least 17,000 people have been killed by the hands of Boko Haram since it launched its insurgency in Northern Nigeria in 2009, according to Amnesty International.

The military which was controlled under Buhari's predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, was heavily criticised for not standing against and finally stopping the insurgency of committing any more crimes following the military’s failure to free more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted from the north-eastern town of Chibok in April last year by the insurgency.

Due to the military’s previous history regarding its human rights violations, the US refused to sell weapons to Nigeria.

Neighboring states have also witnessed assaults by the militant group within their territories.

In Cameroon, suspected Boko Haram militants killed six people, including a soldier, in the village of Lame, near the town of Fotokol in the Far North region, Wednesday night, BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah reported.

The militants burnt down Cameroonian homes and schools and managed to escape before army commanders arrived at the scene.

TRTWorld and agencies