Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau(centre) flanked by three terrorists on either side
PHOTO CREDIT: AFP
June 2, 2013
Boko Haram is putting out positive spin on the Internet, insisting it was not hurt by the two week old government offensive. But there was a lot of damage and one result was a sharp reduction in Boko Haram attacks and their operations in general.
On the downside the government believes that most of those killed or arrested were new recruits and less skilled Boko Haram operatives. What the army really wants is the few hundred most experienced Boko Haram members, who have the skills to build bombs and plan attacks. Over a hundred of these returned from Mali since February. There they tasted defeat by the French/Chad offensive that is still hunting for remaining Islamic terrorists in northern Mali.
But for many months the Boko Haram in Mali tasted power as the Islamic radicals ran northern Mali, using Islamic law (sharia) and terror to get things done. Actually, all that sharia and bad behavior ruined the economy and sent several hundred thousand civilians fleeing. It’s unclear if that made any impression on the Boko Haram Mali vets.
They did return with a sense of urgency
and the skills needed to increase attacks
inside Nigeria. The government arrested more than a hundred Boko Haram suspects and many of them did have a connection with Boko Haram and some were willing to talk about it. By cross-checking the information provided it was possible to determine which was true and to what extent.
Arrests are still being made and most Boko Haram members continue to be distracted by the need to avoid getting
arrested. What is known is that the army has halted cell phone service in much of the northeast, putting Boko Haram at a disadvantage because the army and police have their own radios to communicate with.
The military says they also destroyed a Boko Haram hospital and fuel storage depot as well as several training facilities. Lots of documents were captured as well and these are still
being studied and exploited.
In response the United States has openly, and privately, asked the military to try and control their personnel and avoid the all-too-common killing of innocent civilians during these operations, as well as the frequent looting of their possessions.