- West Africa
- Conflicts - Religion - Governance
Nigeria: Islamists over-powerd by government forces
The Nigerian Military has successfully dispersed the Islamist group that has terrorized the northern part of the country in the last five days. Over one thousand extra soldiers were deployed to fend off the Taliban-styled Islamist which comprises of young men from neighbouring Chad and Niger. More than 200 people have been killed since the clashes began in Maiduguri.
Members of the Extreme group, Boko Haram, headed by Mr. Mohammed Yusuf, have fled their hideouts following the incessant military raid. The military forces stormed into Maiduguri and opened fire on Mohammed Yusuf’s compound on Tuesday, and intense fighting continued until Wednesday with the militants returning heavy gunfire.
Nigerian President Mr. Umaru Yar’Adua earlier ordered Nigeria’s national security agencies to take all necessary action to contain and repel attacks by the extremists.
The Nigerian military were reported to have faced a difficult battle fighting the radical Islamist who resulted into using civilians as shields. However with extra deployment of military men, the six districts of the city taken over by the insurgents were retrieved.
"We have taken over their enclave, they are on the run and we are going after them," Col Ben Ahanotu, the officer commanding the operation, is reported as saying.
Boko Haram insists that it is fighting against Western education but reports are emerging of abductions linked to the group.
According to reports, the leaders and members truly believe that Nigeria’s government is being corrupted by Western ideas and wants to see Sharia Law imposed across Nigeria.
Sharia law currently exists across northern Nigeria, but there is no history of al-Qaeda-links in the country.
On Wednesday, police in Maiduguri discovered a building full of women and children who were being imprisoned on the edge of the city; the women’s husbands were followers of Boko Haram, it has emerged.
Boko Haram’s followers who include some university lecturers and students as well as illiterate and jobless youths wear long beards and red or black headscarves and recognise only their own interpretation of sharia law, reports claim.