Lagos – President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria has “technically” won the war against Boko Haram though suicide bombers remain a threat, in remarks issued days before his self-imposed deadline to defeat the jihadist group expires.
In the remarks, the leader of Africa’s most populous country worked to reassure Nigerians that the jihadists now were unable to mount effective “conventional attacks” in the country’s volatile north. “Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” he said in an interview posted by the BBC yesterday.
“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 was voted into power earlier this year on a platform that included a promise to stamp out the Boko Haram insurgency.
The former military ruler set a self-imposed deadline of the end of December to defeat the militants, vowing to invest in education to deter dissatisfied youth from becoming radical.
In contrast with his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari has been able to win back territory from Boko Haram and the country has seen a decrease in the number of deadly raids that decimated towns and villages.
But the jihadists in response have increasingly resorted to suicide bombers – many of them young children – to wage war for an independent Islamic state in the country.-Al Jazeera