It has emerged that no fewer than 1,868 members of security forces may have been killed in the North-East by Boko Haram between 2018 and 2020.
This is contained in a report published by UK-based Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, titled: ‘Violent Extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Rise of Boko Haram’.
According to the report, the three years were said to be the deadliest for security agents on the frontline of the fight against terrorists.
The figure for the three years is said to be almost equal to the total number of people killed by the terrorist group in six years, 2011-2017.
The report, dated July 23, 2021, is part of the institute’s Africa Frontiers Series.
Authored by Audu Bulama Bukarti, it, among other issues, extensively investigated the origin of Boko Haram, its founders, funding, internal battles, strengths, sustaining factors and capacity to carry out attacks. Many misconceptions about the group were addressed just as likely solutions were proffered.
It drew from Hausa, Kanuri and Arabic-language evidence and eyewitness accounts, including the author’s extensive interviews with former classmates and associates of three of the four founders – Muhammed Yusuf, Muhammed Ali and Mamman Nur.
In addition, the report warned that in the North-West, Ansaru is winning the hearts and minds of locals by using the al-Qaeda model, adding that for Nigeria’s counter-terrorism campaign against Boko Haram to be successful, the sincerity of those prosecuting the battle on the frontlines is essential.
North-West has of late been a hotbed of bandits who have been kidnapping people, including schoolchildren, for ransom.