The Nigerian army launched a number of airstrikes on Sunday, killing a number of Boko Haram militants and destroying a position designated as a command and control center following raids in the northeastern state of Borno.
The raid targeted the command center of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Dusala, on the fringes of the Sambisa forest in Borno, after surveillance showed they were in the area planning terrorist attacks, Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ibikunle Daramola said in a statement.
Three aircraft carried out the airstrikes, Daramola confirmed, refusing to give the exact number of Boko Haram fighters killed in the raid, but he said that the buildings that included the group’s command center were completely destroyed by the airstrikes, adding that the few surviving terrorists who were seen trying to flee the area were later attacked.
The spokesman said that the raid was part of renewed efforts to eliminate remnants of Boko Haram and terrorists of the West African State stationed in northeastern Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force has pledged to intensify operations against terrorists in the northeast, in cooperation with ground forces.
Buhari and Islam
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in a message to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday that his administration will continue to protect the lives of Nigerian citizens at all costs, pointing out that Islam has faced challenges through issues related to extremism and violence that must be curbed.
The president confirmed that Nigerian troops have weakened Boko Haram, adding that Boko Haram can no longer control parts of the country.
According to Buhari, extremism is like a cancer that must be discovered and destroyed in its early stages of development, stressing that Boko Haram’s terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of banditry will be treated relentlessly in order to free the country from terrorism and the increasing evils therein.
Impact of airstrikes
African researcher Nasser Maamoun Issa said that despite the Nigerian presidency’s repeated announcement that the Boko Haram group has been curtailed in the northeast of the country because of the targeted strikes, the government is well aware that it is facing a mixture of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups and fighters from the Maghreb and the remnants of ISIS.
Issa said that Lake Chad is still witnessing the operational activity of Boko Haram or the West African State.
The strikes, however, did not and will not succeed alone in eliminating the group, but they will affect, albeit temporarily, the group’s capabilities and operations in the foreseeable time, Issa stated.