US: boko haram’s territorial control degraded, but not defeated


President Muhammadu Buhari

Says more than 1,240 persons killed in terrorist assaults in 2015 Level of interagency counterterrorism cooperation and information sharing limited

Anayo Okolie

The United States Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism has released its Country Reports on Terrorism for 2015 with an affirmation that the Boko Haram terrorist sect had lost considerable capacity to hold territory, though it continued to launch uncoordinated attacks.

The report confirms President Muhammadu Buhari’s oft-repeated assertion that Boko Haram has been dealt a devastating blow by the Nigerian military, but the group is yet to be completely defeated.

The report identified inadequate cooperation and information sharing among the security agencies involved in the antiterrorism war as the bane of the counterterrorism operation. It said over 1, 240 persons were killed in terror attacks in Nigeria last year.

“Regional military forces made progress during 2015 in degrading the group’s territorial control, in particular following the election of Nigerian President Buhari, but Boko Haram responded by increasing its use of asymmetric attacks,” the report said.

It added, “Bilateral and multilateral efforts by these regional military forces successfully challenged Boko Haram’s hold on territory, forcing it to abandon major military-style campaigns and revert back to the asymmetric tactics seen in previous years. Despite these setbacks, Boko Haram withstood and adapted to the military offensives.

“The group carried out kidnappings, killings, bombings (including with child suicide bombers), and attacks on civilian and military targets throughout the Lake Chad Basin, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property.”

The report stressed, “While Nigeria and regional partners have made progress in driving Boko Haram from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, the group kept control over some territory and maintained its ability to carry out asymmetric attacks.”

On coordination of the antiterrorism operations, the report observed, “While the counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), the level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited.”

The reported also noted, “Among the problems that deterred or hindered more effective law enforcement and border security by the Nigerian government were a lack of coordination and cooperation between Nigerian security agencies; a lack of biometrics collection systems and the requisite databases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of timely arraignment of suspected terrorist detainees; and lack of sufficient training for prosecutors and judges to understand and carry out the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended). “               ThisDay

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