BORNO, Nigeria (BP) — Boko Haram reportedly remains a strong threat in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries despite Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that military leaders have largely met his deadline to have defeated the group by the end of 2015.
Boko Haram ended the year with suicide bombings, rocket-propelled grenades and shootings that killed at least 80 and injured nearly 100 in the Borno capital of Maiduguri and 50 miles south in Madagali, the Associated Press and others reported, putting the six-year carnage by Boko Haram at estimates between 17,000 and 20,000.
More than 200 schoolgirls remain missing nearly two years after Boko Haram kidnapped them from Chibok in April, 2014, and an estimated 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes by Boko Haram violence.
Boko Haram remains a threat to Christians in particular in northeastern Nigeria, said Ann Buwalda, executive director of the Jubilee Campaign for religious freedom and human rights.
“The mood of the displaced people of [northeastern] Nigeria remains fearful and tense due to the uncertainty as to where Boko Haram will next strike with a suicide bomb or other attack,” said Buwalda, whose organization communicates with a Christian ministry to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region. “This is particularly true following the Christmas/New Year attacks perpetrated by militants.”
Supporters of the BringBackOurGirls campaign to free the Chibok schoolgirls have expressed particular dismay at Buhari’s reasoning. Advocates plan to march to Buhari’s presidential villa Jan. 7 in public protest for answers to why the girls have not been recovered, the Nigerian Bulletin reported Jan. 5.