Just two weeks before the presidential election, the Nigerian army on Monday recaptured the northeastern city of Bama in Borno state from members of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Reuters reports.
Bama has been under the control of the Islamist terrorists since September last year as the sect continued its six-year-old insurgency to establish an Islamic state.
In the past few months, the sect’s campaign grew stronger even as they started encroaching into neighbouring countries like Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
However, following intensive counter-strikes launched by a combination of Chad and Niger troops over the frontier into Nigerian territory, especially around Lake Chad, and the alleged involvement of hundreds of mercenaries, the sect grew weaker overnight
It was also reported that the arrival of new equipment has also helped boost soldiers’ morale in the fight against insurgency in the northern part of the country.
Boko Haram started its onslaught against the Nigerian government in 2009. The sect’s activities have plagued the country’s economy in the northern states affected.
The initial inability of the Nigerian soldiers to dismantle the Islamic militants, who have killed thousands, abducted over 200 female students from Chibok, Borno state as well as displaced many thousands of people, became an embarrassment to President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Bama is about 60 km (40 miles) southeast of the state capital Maiduguri. A security source said the fight for Bama started since last week and began making headway over the weekend.
Borno, which is considered the heartland of the insurgency, has witnessed several destructive attacks that have left many residents dead with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
However, the Nigerian government has warned that the scattered Boko Haram members might regroup and start attacking ‘soft targets.’
Recall that the federal government postponed the elections by six weeks to enable the military to flush out the sect, in order to have hitch free polls on March 28 and April 11.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram militants were successfully ejected from Adamawa and Yobe states recently, according to defence headquarters
Earlier, the general officer commanding 7th Division of the Nigerian army, Major General Lamidi Adeosun, claimed that despite problems, the insurgency will not overcome the Nigerian armed forces.