25 October 2013

Nigeria: Army Claims Responsibility for 74 Deaths in Attack On Rebel Group

Photo: Vanguard
Armed Soldiers.

Nigeria's army has said it killed scored of members of Boko Haram in a two-pronged assault on two of the rebels group's camps. The latest attack continues the campaign to crush the Islamist sect.

A statement released on Friday by the African nation's army said the offensive had targeted camps in the remote villages of Galangi and Lawante in the north-east state of Borno. It comes after Monday's assault in another part of the state, which reportedly left 37 Islamists dead.

"The operation, which involved ground and aerial assault supported by the Nigerian Air Force led to the destruction of the identified terrorist camps, killing 74 terrorists while others fled with serious injuries," Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Dole said of Thursday's raid, adding that two soldiers were wounded.

Nigeria's bitter battle with Boko Haram

Boko Haram's raids claim multiple innocent victims and spread fear and panic. The government says fighting the group is a priority and has mounted a display of military force. The impact has been largely temporary.

In a separate outbreak of violence on Thursday, suspected Islamist fighters attacked Damaturu, exchanging gunfire with security forces and reportedly burning three police buildings. The capital of Yobe state, Damaturu has been regularly targeted by Boko Haram.

Offensive of success, claims army

While there have been doubts about the accuracy of its reports, Nigeria's army have claimed major successes since launching their offensive against Boko Haram in May. It came as a response to a series of Boko Haram attacks since 2009, which have led to the deaths of hundreds of people.

Boko Haram are believed to have bombed the nation's capital, Abuja, at least three times, including an attack on the United Nations' Nigerian headquarters in 2011.

In September, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a renewed effort to destroy the group, which initially established itself as a clerical movement opposed to western culture.

It has now become an armed rebel group with links to al Qaeda, fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. Figures released earlier this year has put the death toll from the conflict at 3,600 lives.


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