Hundreds of Boko Haram extremists surrender after government victories

The Nigerian Defense Ministry has said it has killed hundreds of insurgents recently in the country's northeast.

Jossy Ola/AP
Civilians who fled their homes following an attacked by Islamist militants, in Bama, take refuge at a school in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Tuesday Sept. 9.

Hundreds of Islamic extremists have surrendered in Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon following the military's recent victories with air and ground attacks, military authorities said Wednesday.

The Nigerian Defense Ministry has said it has killed hundreds of insurgents recently in the country's northeast.

Several militant commanders were among the dead including Mohammed Bashir, whom the Nigerian military identified as a double who posed in videos as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, a military statement said Wednesday.

The military has claimed Shekau was killed in battle last year.

Nigeria's military said it was victorious around Konduga town just 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Maiduguri, birthplace of Boko Haram and the headquarters of the military offensive to contain the Islamic uprising.

"It became apparent that the terrorists ... were determined to take over communities around Maiduguri, which is their prime target," the statement said, adding the insurgents made four attempts to take Konduga between Sept. 12 and 17.

It said 135 insurgents surrendered Tuesday night, some at Buni-Yadi some 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Konduga and others at Michika, 165 kilometers (100 miles) south of Konduga.

Cameroon's defense ministry said more than 300 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered there in the past three weeks. Spokesman Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck told The Associated Press that the militants have given up their arms and asked for asylum in Cameroon. Their fate has not been decided.

Fighters from neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad have been identified fighting alongside Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram group, which in recent weeks also has been attacking border towns and villages in Cameroon.

Boko Haram had seized a string of towns and declared an Islamic caliphate in a corner of northeast Nigeria before the setback suffered at Konduga.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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 CSMonitor.com.