ABUJA, Nigeria, March 30 (UPI) — The Nigerian Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram will be defeated within three months, Nigeria’s defense minister predicted Wednesday.
Remaining Boko Haram forces have been pushed to one stronghold in northeastern Nigeria, Borno state’s Sambisa forest, in what the Nigerian military has called “cleansing operations.” The actions by the military have resulted in the freeing of hundreds of civilians held by Boko Haram.
Defense Minister Mansur Dan Ali, a retired general, said Wednesday, “We are all working together and we are sharing information, and the international community is also advising us in the right direction” in revealing he expects all Nigerian territory under Boko Haram control will be reclaimed within two to three months. He credited Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari‘s challenge to vanquish Boko Haram by the end of 2015 for “changing the game.”
Buhari said in December 2015 that the fundamentalist insurgents, who are aligned with the Islamic State, were essentially defeated and capable only of sporadic guerrilla attacks on soft targets like mosques and markets. Over 200 Nigerians have been killed in such attacks since the start of 2016.
Boko Haram’s movement began in 2009; tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and millions more displaced.