Boko Haram leaders arrested; dozens of captives freed

A security summit on ending the Boko Haram menace is coming up today in Abuja amidst increasing signs of closer military cooperation between regional powers and worldwide support.

France's Hollande, who arrived in Abuja late on Friday from the Central African Republic, met his Nigerian counterpart Buhari at the presidential villa before the start of the summit.

But International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said in a new analysis earlier this month that the group has already been "weakened" and "put on the defensive" by a growing and coordinated military response that Nigeria and its neighbors began putting in place a year ago.

US-backed African governments have recently made military advances against Boko Haram. We need to continue.

"During this victorious assault which led to the complete destruction of three Boko Haram camps, a notorious warlord of the terrorist group by name Boubar Akaou was captured, alongside five of his crime mates".

While Boko Haram has lost some territory to Nigerian and multiple African military forces in the past year, it still maintains a deadly capacity to launch devastating attacks against security forces in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon - as well as terrorize the local populace.

A lasting peace can only be achieved if the countries of the region, with our support, cooperate to implement a sustainable strategy that not only wins the war but also wins the peace.

"What remains is to dislodge the terrorists from their hideout in the (northeastern) Sambisa forest and safely liberate the Chibok girls and other victims of abduction", he said.

Blinken also reportedly added: "So these are all elements that suggest that there are more contacts and more co-operation, and this is again something that we are looking at very carefully because we want to cut it off".

Meanwhile, both the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the United Kingdom, Philip Hammond, and the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, present at the meeting urge governments of the region to work at stabilising lives of returnees in the liberated communities.

The Multi-National Joint Task Force commander, General Lamidi Adeosun, has requested flat-bottomed boats to help soldiers fight on Lake Chad, where Nigeria borders Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is asking member states to begin to fix attention on developmental programmes which will address the root causes of insecurity in the region.

Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the city considered the birthplace of the Islamist movement.

  • Elsie Buchanan