Information Minister Claims Boko Haram 'Widely' Defeated

A picture released by the Nigerian Army shows a vehicle of Boko Haram fighters destroyed with explosives by soldiers following clashes to take control of the town of Dikwa in July 2015. By Nigerian Army (AFP/File)

Lagos (AFP) - Nigeria's information minister on Tuesday insisted that Boko Haram was "widely defeated" despite two days of bombings blamed on the jihadist group that left dozens dead in the volatile northeast.

Lai Mohammed maintained the Nigerian government had greatly reduced the group's capacity to attack and was on its last week.

"Boko Haram has been widely defeated. They (Boko Haram) know they are on their way out," Mohammed told journalists in Lagos.

"They lack the capacity to launch horrendous attacks they used to do in the past. We have succeeded in dislodging them," he said.

"Our problem now is how to resettle the internally displaced people."

In the final days before his self-imposed deadline to stamp out the group on December 31 expires, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that Boko Haram was "technically" defeated.

In an expected show of defiance, Boko Haram attacked a series of towns in the north of Africa's most populous nation and biggest oil producer, calling into question Buhari's claim that the militants weren't capable of "conventional" attacks.

On Sunday evening, there was a spate of suicide bombings in the key city of Maiduguri, killing 21 people and injuring scores of others.

In the neighbouring state of Adamawa, 30 people were killed Monday morning after two young women detonated explosives in a crowded market.

Over 17,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram's six-year quest to create an independent Islamic state in Nigeria.

According to the Global Terrorism Index, a report released by the New York-based Institute for Economics and Peace, Boko Haram "has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world".

While Nigeria's military has won back swathes of territory from the jihadists in recent months, Boko Haram has expanded its network in neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

The group has increasingly relied on children as weapons, often deploying young girls strapped with explosives into crowded marketplaces and mosques.

Source: AFP
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