ABUJA, Nigeria (BP) — A new multination military offensive is causing Boko Haram to surrender “en masse,” a Nigerian military official claimed Sept. 13, just as humanitarian aid groups said Boko Haram attacks were creating a major hunger crisis in the region.
A special military force of 8,700 soldiers from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin mobilized against Boko Haram in February, and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has given newly appointed military leaders just months to stop the terrorists.
Despite the claims of Nigeria’s acting director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, Boko Haram has forced nearly 800,000 people to flee their homes since June, causing mass malnutrition in some areas of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, the humanitarian Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Sept. 11. The World Food Program and the American Red Cross also have reported a growing hunger crisis in the region, fueled by Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria and in the neighboring countries where Nigerians have fled.
Boko Haram is blamed for killing 600 to 900 people in the region during Buhari’s presidency, adding to an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Boko Haram has killed since 2009. The terrorists have targeted Christians but have also killed moderate Muslims and others.
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