Cameroonian Defense Minister, Joseph Betti Assomo, announced that the Cameroonian military had killed over 100 Boko Haram insurgents as well as freed up to 900 hostages in an operation from November 26 to 28. It is unclear whether this offensive was part of the new regional task force formed in August, which at this point has not conducted any joint actions.
World’s deadliest terrorist organization
Boko Haram literally means “western education forbidden,” and preach a form of Islam that demands total abstention from western society and culture. The group was first founded in 2002, but was not labeled a terrorist organization by the United States in 2013.What began as a school slowly turned into a recruiting ground for jihadists, and slowly rose to international notoriety. It was in 2013 that the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in response to Boko Haram’s wave of terror.
Now, Boko Haram has now surpassed Daesh as being the worlds most dangerous terror organization after having a 300% increase in deaths in 2015 which is currently the largest recorded increase in terrorist activity. Boko Haram has also recently expanded into Chad Cameroon, launching 46 attacks killing 520.
Alliance with Daesh
Recently, Abubakar Shekau declared that Boko Haram would now be allied with Daesh, as they urged all Muslims to pledge their support to the “caliph.” This has already led to attempts to recruit young Nigerians to join Daesh via social media, and has raised the level of concern from the international community concerning both groups. Both Daesh and Boko Haram have excelled at President of Niger, Mohammed Bazoum, stated:
We do not have an army that is sufficiently numerous and that possesses sufficient means to protect all of our population, and to reduce to zero the risk that Boko Haram would come and slit the throat of a peasant
However, there is a growing confidence that Boko Haram is losing territory and that its recent alliance with Daesh could be one of desperation.
President Buhari’s promise
Throughout his election campaign, Nigerian president Buhari made putting an end to Boko Haram a centerpiece of his campaign and declared an aggressive December deadline to this goal. And though Nigeria has made real strides in reducing Nigeria’s territory, without buy in from its neighbors they are unlikely to meet this deadline.
Security analyst Ryan Cummings said that Boko Haram’s recent expansion into Cameroon and Chad, made this a transnational problem describing how this changed Buhari’s attempts to eliminate Boko Haram:
The insurgency is no longer a Nigerian problem and has since developed to a quandary of regional proportions. As such, any unilateral actions and associated timelines provided by Buhari is worthless if they are not backed and supported by regional countries such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad where Boko Haram has also established an operational footprint
However, now that Cameroon has been able to land a fairly significant victory against Boko Haram Buhari may be able to accomplish his end goal if not meet his ambitious deadline. Eliminating Boko Haram will only help Nigeria and the region as a whole, and in doing so could help Europe and the United States in their fight against Daesh.