Attacks by Boko Haram challenge Nigeria's claim of 'winning the war'

The Islamist militant group has hit the major city of Maiduguri twice in the past two days. 

Maiduguri, a major city in Nigeria's northeast, was struck by Boko Haram militants not long after President Buhari said the government had 'technically' won the war against the group.

Boko Haram Islamic militants have struck the northeastern city of Maiduguri twice in the past two days, less than a week after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared that his military had “technically won the war" against Boko Haram.

A female suicide bomber blew herself up while standing in line to enter a mosque on Monday, killing one person, according to the BBC.  The attack comes a day after Boko Haram deployed multiple suicide bombers and militants using rocket-propelled grenades in neighboring towns. The Associated Press puts the death toll from that incident at 30, but says it may be ”many times higher.” 

The Nigerian Army claimed to have intercepted and engaged with some of the suicide bombers, killing 10 of them. “The troops laid ambush on the terrorists’ suspected routes along Damboa road and eliminated them,” Col. Mustapha Anka, an Army spokesman, said in a statement late Sunday. “The explosive-ordnance device team have been mobilized and they are clearing the debris.”

It is unclear if the attacks are a direct response to President Buhari’s claim last week that the Nigerian Army was beating Boko Haram. Since Buhari took office in May, the military has made significant headway in curbing the insurgency, and pushing the Islamist group – under the name Islamic State in West Africa Province – further into Nigeria's Sambisa Forest.

"So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighborhoods,” he told the BBC. Boko Haram as an organised fighting force, I assure you, that we have dealt with them."

But as seen in both the Sunday and Monday attacks, Boko Haram has increasingly used suicide bombers to target civilians, a  strategy that the Nigerian military says shows the group’s desperation. Militants, according to a Council on Foreign Relations analysis, have also become more strategic with their targets, focusing on major cities like the capital, Abuja; Maiduguri, which serves as the headquarters of the counterinsurgency effort and the birthplace of Boko Haram; and even refugee camps.

“The blasts are among those that would be the last in this issue,” Chief of Army Staff Gen. Tukur Buruta said at a conference in September, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.  “We will start counting very few before we get to the end of this [campaign].”

However, Boko Haram remains vigilant. The self-declared Islamic State, with whom Boko Haram is affiliated, claimed earlier this month that its West Africa division had launched more than 100 attacks over the past two months, the Site Intelligence Group, with monitors extremist websites, reported. They also claimed to have killed more than a thousand people, which is difficult to confirm.

Boko Haram has been labeled the world's deadliest terrorist group.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Attacks by Boko Haram challenge Nigeria's claim of 'winning the war'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today