FRESH fears have emerged that terrorist sect Boko Haram has regrouped and is now stronger than ever after it recently captured five local government areas across northeast Nigeria regaining some of the territory it lost earlier this year.
At the beginning of 2015, Boko Haram was at its strongest, capturing 14 local government areas in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States but a concerted military campaign by the Nigerian Army in conjunction with its counterparts in Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroon regained a lot of the territory. A regional cooperative pact known as the Multi National Joint Task Force, succeeded in restricting the terrorists to just two local government areas in Borno State.
However, following the holding of elections in Nigeria and the change of government, Boko Haram has managed to regain the initiative. It now controls five local government areas in Borno and Yobe States and Nigeria’s National Economic Council (NEC) has warned that its insurgents are waxing stronger across the northeast.
After an NEC meeting yesterday, it was revealed that the occupation of the five local government councils was confirmed by the Governors Ibrahim Gaidam and Kashim Shettima of Yobe and Borno States. They also informed the NEC that the insurgents were still hiding in Sambisa Forest and called for increased military deployment and provision of sophisticated military equipment in those areas.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general assumed office on May 29, the sect has stepped up attacks across the northeast and is estimated to have killed more than 600 people in less than two months. After yesterday’s meeting, NEC chairman vice president Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that security reports also revealed that garbage scavengers were being recruited by Boko Haram to dump refuse laden with bombs at the residences of VIPs.
He however did not disclose which homes or the names of the important personalities that were being targeted. Professor Osinbajo regretted that the insurgency had affected the economic life of the northeast and the country as a whole and called on the council to speak as a team and put pressure on the service chiefs to increase their effort in fighting the terrorists.