Map: Boko Haram in Nigeria (02/17/15)

Boko Haram in Nigeria, 02/17/15,

Recent Attacks

First Boko Haram attack in Chad; Ngouboua village (February 13). In apparent retaliation for the country’s joining of the coalition against the militant group (and it should be said Chad is the most active coalition partner thus far), four boats of Boko Haram fighters crossed Lake Chad and attacked Ngouboua on February 13. There are few details available beyond that the attack occurred at night and that the village chief was killed. The village is also home to several thousand Nigerian refugees who had fled Boko Haram’s advance in the northeast.

 Boko Haram attack on Gombe (February 14). The Nigerian military easily repelled a Boko Haram attack on Gombe, which has been the site of various suicide attacks in the past. During their retreat, Boko Haram fighters distributed pamphlets warning civilians that they risked death should they come out and vote in the elections currently scheduled for March 28. Interestingly, there were also reports that the fighters were claiming civilians were not their targets; only the security forces. This suggests a hitherto non-existent sensitivity towards the group’s brutal reputation.

Another attack on Maiduguri likely (February 14). The encirclement of Maiduguri continues, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Boko Haram refugees and a large Christian population. Various intelligence experts have been sounding the alarm that the militant group is ramping up for a large assault on the city. At present the government only controls one of the five main roads out of the city, the one leading west towards Damaturu.

Suicide attack in Damaturu (February 15). A female suicide bomber blew herself up at a crowded bus station in Damaturu. Ten people were killed and 30 injured in the attack, which thus far no militant group has come forward to claim.

The liberation of Monguno and Marte (February 17). Nigerian troops have liberated two Boko Haram-held communities in northeastern Nigeria. The soldiers, backed by air strikes from coalition partners, liberated Monguno against little resistance. Monguno was taken by Boko Haram militants in late January.

Though this is a positive sign for the new military coalition between Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon, the true test will be whether they can hold these communities and protect them over the long term. It’s possible that Boko Haram fled from the advance and will wait for a more favorable engagement in the future.

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