Boko Haram target Niger – the world’s least developed country

There is evidence that the Boko Haram Islamist terror group is feeling the pressure of a concerted effort by the military of Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, with additional support from France and the USA. In recent weeks the group, whose stronghold is in north-eastern Nigeria, has crossed the border into south-eastern Niger where their aim was to replenish resources and steal weapons.

Throughout June, and specifically on June 21, Boko Haram attacked the town of Bosso, near Lake Chad, and nearby villages, taking food and cattle and boldly targeted a small military contingent for their weapons, leaving more than 40 people dead.

According to political analyst Vincent Foucher, a spokesperson for the Brussels based International Crisis Group, “Boko Haram is on the defensive and trying to replenish their reserves.” The organization is facing, says Foucher, “a regional response that’s become much more coherent.”

The impact of Boko Haram activities in the region has been devastating. Fishing and farming in the fertile Lake Chad region have largely stopped, causing hunger to 280,000 refugees who fled there from northern Nigeria.

Speaking to Radio France Internationale earlier this month, Niger’s defense minister, Hassoumi Massaoudou, cautioned against thinking Boko Haram were close to defeat. “We thought that they were reduced to suicide attacks. We now see that we were wrong. They’ve rebuilt their military force.” Massaoudou said that the most effective way to defeat the group will be by fighting them in their northern Nigerian strongholds.

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