The Nigerian military says it has ”checkmated” Boko Haram and their operations in the north-east.
This was said during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, by John Enenche, coordinator of defence media operations. Enenche said the federal government and the military since 2015 had checked the intensity of terrorist activities across the country — particularly in the north-east.
Despite claims that the insurgents have been decimated, some parts of the north-eastern region still come under attack.
One of the most recent violent attacks by Boko Haram was at Zabarmari in Jere local government area of Borno state where more than 40 farmers were killed.
During the interview, the Armed Forces spokesman said the initial delay in tackling the menace made it gain momentum — Boko Haram taking over territories and setting up administrative structures — before they were knocked off in 2016.
He said the open display of power and authority by Boko Haram no longer happens in the north-east, and that no single district or community could be said to be under the control of the insurgents.
“The issue of bombings that even spread to other places like Abuja, Kano, Niger and Kogi States, including their slipper cells no longer exist,” he said.
“What about suicide bombing, which is one of the signs of terrorism? It was rife and even at our checkpoints they come and detonate bombs as well as public gatherings; all these have been nipped properly.
“If you put all these together, I can tell you that terrorism has been checkmated.
“However, the signs are still there with isolated action here and there; common with terrorism.”
Enenche said history has shown that terrorism “is a very resilient type of enemy activity”, adding that the type of terrorism in Nigeria is not “a smart one” but rooted in the state of mind of a group of people.
He also said Boko Haram and ISWAP were hybrid threats that became protracted with immediate and remote causes.
He asked Nigerians to be bold in coming out to provide information on activities of the insurgents to aid security agencies in tracking their locations.