Nigerian Military: Why Boko Haram’s Now Targeting Students

brigadier general chris olukoladeThe Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Wednesday said the killings of scores of people in Borno and Yobe in the past few days are signs that the Boko Haram terrorists are losing the battle against government forces.

The military said the trend of sneaking in to carry out isolated attacks on soft targets as a way of seeking attention is a typical end-game strategy often employed by insurgents all over the world.

Seven secondary school students and two teachers were killed in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital when gunmen, believed to be Boko Haram, attacked a government school on Sunday. A day later, suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked two different locations, a school and a fishing village, in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, killing nine students and 13 fishermen.

In a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, the Nigerian military said the recent activities are signs of desperation of a decimated insurgent group attempting to hang on to public consciousness.

With the destruction of their operational bases and camps by the Special Forces, the group’s centre of gravity had been effectively dislocated, he said. He said this had made it impossible for the terrorists to have freedom of action to operate as they did previously.

The military also said eight of the suspected terrorists have been apprehended in the outskirts of Maiduguri.

The statement said Special Forces have stepped up the mop-up, cordon and search operations “to ensure that the vestiges of terrorism are effectively decimated.

“The DHQ has noted a number of attacks and killing of innocent citizens ostensibly carried out by terrorists in Yobe and Borno in the last couple of days.

“Although this isolated incidents were undertaken by relocating terrorists, the whole trend and development remains unfortunate and condemnable.

“Nevertheless, the public is hereby reassured that these incidences are by no means indicative of a relapse in the counter-insurgency operation aimed at curbing terrorists’ activities in the country.”

The military, however, urged the public to continue to report any suspicious movement to security agents.