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Boko Haram Degraded by 90 Percent:  Northeast Theater Commander 

By Luka Binniyat and Mike Odeh James

(Maiduguri) Boko Haram—the smaller of the two ISIS insurgencies staging murderous campaigns  in Nigeria since 2009—has been decimated by 90 percent,  said Maj. General Waidi Shaibu, Commander, Northeast Joint Task Forceto Truth Nigeria in an exclusive chat. The commander of Joint Operation Hadin Kai  talked with TruthNigeria Correspondents in Maiduguri, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.

Shaibu fielded questions from our reporter at the handover ceremony of a rescued Chibok girl, Lydia Simon, on Thursday (May 10). The commander said that Boko Haram (“Western learning forbidden”) has suffered severe defeat and has greatly lost its  capacity for combat. As a result, it has resorted to planting mines and blowing up vehicles on highways —  forcing drivers to join 2,000-vehicle convoys creeping behind the army’s mine-sweeping trucks.

“The Nigerian Army has substantially degraded  Boko Haram to a very minimum level,” Shaibu added.

“And I will tell you that Boko Haram’s ability to launch attacks has been blunted.  So far,  Boko Haram has been degraded by 90 percent,” he said. 

“I am very confident that in a very short time, they (Boko Haram) will be wiped out.

“As at now, many of them are leaving the group and surrendering to our troops on daily basis. 

“Their end is very imminent,” he said.

On the rescued Chibok girl, Gen. Shaibu said, “The Chibok girls incident has captured international attention. And all efforts both national and international have been made to ensure the safe rescue of the girls  and return to their family.

“What we do as military, we make deep incursions into the enemy enclaves  and ensure that they are completely decimated and to rescue the Chibok girls,” he said.

“So far, 18 of the girls have been rescued as the result of the direct military efforts,” Shaibu said. He didn’t say how many of the Chibok girls remain in the hands of their captors. Estimates vary between 89 and 91.

 “What we normally do as routine when a Chibok girl is rescued, we normally give them and their children medical treatment to ensure that they’re free of all ailments.” Lydia Simon and her three children were initially met by Nigerian Army on April 17 and have been recuperating at a medical center for three weeks.

“They usually get rescued with their children after 10 years in captivity,” Shaibu said.

“Then we hand them over to the Ministry of Women’s’ Affairs and Social Development in Borno State,” he said.

TruthNigeria reported May 8 that Lydia Simon had managed to escape from her terrorists captors from the Mandara mountains in Borno State bordering Cameroon after being married three times to Boko Haram Commanders and having a child for each.

Nigeria’s 10 Year Struggle with Jihadists

Gen. W. Shaibu, second from Right, beside Lydia Simon, having completed her families medical testing, presented at a press conference in Maiduguri. photo by Mike Odeh James.
Gen. W. Shaibu, second from Right, beside Lydia Simon, having completed her families medical testing, presented at a press conference in Maiduguri. photo by Mike Odeh James.

The Federal Government of Nigeria, working closely with the Governor of Borno State, has made truly significant strides in its fight against terrorist violence over the past eight years, according to a UN report,  Supporting Nigeria  in Its Struggle Against Terrorism. Nigeria has gone from being ranked 2nd in the Global Terrorism Index in 2016, as one of the countries most affected by terrorism, to 8th in 2024. The UN estimates that tens of thousands of men, women and children have left Boko Haram-controlled territory since 2021 and have been reintegrated back into their communities.

Yet, the optimistic view of Gen. Shaibu is in contrast to the assessment of the International Crisis Group, which reports that Boko Haram, whose formal title is Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS), has gained ground in the intra-jihadist fighting in northeastern Nigeria.  In 2021 and 2022, ISWAP gained momentum in the Lake Chad region as hundreds of JAS families surrendered to Nigerian authorities in Maiduguri, while myriad JAS survivors escaped the murderous pursuit of ISWAP, relocating to states of Northcentral Nigeria.

The JAS came under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau from 2009 until 2021. In 2016 the JAS attempted to  affiliate with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), but ISIS rejected the mentally unstable Shekau and chose to link with a new faction calling itself Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP). When the charismatic but pathological Shekau committed suicide in 2021, ISWAP attempted to force all remaining JAS soldiers to be absorbed into ISWAP, according to David Otto, London-based security expert and consultant of TruthNigeria.

 From 2023, JAS, also known as Boko Haram, staged a comeback in the Lake Chad area and now controls most of the islands in Lake Chad, which ISWAP had controlled, according to International Crisis Group.

ISWAP remains an ongoing threat, claiming responsibility for 403 terrorist attacks between March 2023 and March 2024, according to the United Nations Office for Combatting Drug Trafficking and Crime.


Luka Binniyat and Mike Odey are conflict reporters that write for Truth Nigeria. Douglas Burton, managing editor of TruthNigeria,  contributed to this report.

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