Multinational Force Closes in on Boko Haram

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Soldiers from Chad killed 16 Boko Haram militants on Sunday after the Islamist group launched raids on Muslim communities in Chad. Four soldiers were also killed.

A joint task-force of 8,700 soldiers will begin assaulting Boko Haram strongholds once the rainy season ends.

Fighters based in remote areas of northern Nigeria have been launching cross-border raids since last year. Chad is part of a multinational force fighting against Boko Haram, alongside Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon, which has been making progress in pushing back the Islamist group.

Boko Haram has been an affiliate of the Islamic State since pledging allegiance in March. It now styles itself as the Islamic State in West Africa. It seeks to carve out a sharia governed Islamist state in Muslim areas of Nigeria and the surrounding countries.

Last year it was reported to have killed 10,000 people in Nigeria alone.

Also on Sunday, Nigerian soldiers cleared out Boko Haram fighters from a primary school in Borno State where they had fortified themselves. Four suspected terrorists were killed in the firefight. Two AK-47 rifles and several motorbikes, solar panels and drugs were confiscated.

On Tuesday the Nigerian army rescued 338 captives from Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest, including 192 children and 138 women.

Over 50 were killed in suicide bombing attacks attributed to the group in mid-October. At least nine were killed in a suicide bombing in Cameroon, while 41 were killed in five coordinated attacks in Chad.

U.S. forces began training African soldiers from Niger to fight Boko Haram on October 19.

“This training benefits Nigeria military personnel and U.S. Army soldiers who share the mutual security goal of regional stability and security in Africa,” said Major-General Daryl Williams, the commander of the U.S. Army in Africa

The armies of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon will be given training soon.

For more information on Boko Haram and its efforts to create an Islamist State in Nigeria, see Clarion Project’s Special Report: Boko Haram Nigerian Islamist Group

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org