Nigerian Military: Boko Haram Have Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank Guns
The military destroyed some of the heavy weapons in a raid.
Nigerian Jets Destroy Heavy Weapons in Raid on Boko Haram Islamists
Nigerian troops mounted air and ground attacks on camps used by the militant Islamist Boko Haram group in the northeast, destroying anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, a military spokesman said.
“An air campaign was carried out before soldiers went into the area,” Chris Olukolade, a spokesman for Defense Headquarters, said today by phone from Abuja, the capital. The attacks in the northern and central parts of Borno state were carried out yesterday and “troops have taken over the place after destroying the camps,” he said.
The military campaign follows President Goodluck Jonathan’s May 14 declaration of emergency rule in the
three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to tackle the insurgency by the Boko Haram group that has killed thousands since 2009. Parts of the country’s northeast were being taken over by Islamist militants, Jonathan said.
Jonathan’s action followed violence in the northeastern Baga, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Chad, that killed as many as 228 people after security forces responded to an attack by militants on April 16, according to local officials. The army says 30 insurgents, six civilians and a soldier were killed, and 30 houses were burned down. New York-based Human Rights Watch said satellite images of Baga show at least 2,000 homes were destroyed.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, started its violent campaign to impose Shariah law on Nigeria after police in 2009 killed its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, while in custody for his role in clashes with the security forces in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Borno state capital. More than 700 people, mostly his followers, died in the violence.
Since then the group has carried out gun and bomb attacks across the north and Abuja that have killed more than 1,500 people, according to Human Rights Watch. Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous country of more than 160 million people is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.
While soldiers attacked militant camps in the northeast, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram fighters attacked a police station and a bank in the northwestern town of Daura, about 700 kilometers (430 miles) from Maiduguri, Ikedichi Iweha, a military spokesman in the northern city of Kano said today by phone. Seven people died in the fighting including two soldiers and five militants, the army said.
The offensive against the militants “will continue until we get all the camps, all their locations destroyed,” Olukolade said. Troops will take the campaign to “everywhere we can locate the terrorists, not just in the three states” under emergency rule, he said.
United Nations: Boko Haram Members May Face War Crimes Charges
Members of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in Nigeria, could face war crimes charges for deliberate acts leading to ethnic and religious cleansing, the United Nations, UN, has said.