Violence displaces at least 1.5m in Nigeria; Buhari insists state not losing fight to Boko Haram

Fewer direct confrontations against the military indicates the group is weakening, says Nigerian president.

AT least 1.5 million people have been displaced by violence in northeastern Nigeria after continuing attacks and bombings by Islamist militants, according to the United Nations.

More than 100,000 people have also fled Nigeria to neighbouring Niger, while 18,400 had fled to Chad, Leo Dobbs, a spokesman for the UN’s refugee agency, said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. 

At least 12,000 Nigerian refugees were taking shelter in Cameroon’s far north region, he said. 

An increased spate of attacks killing hundreds of civilians in recent weeks isn’t a sign Nigeria’s government is losing the battle against Boko Haram insurgents, President Muhammadu Buhari said in an opinion article in the Washington Post on Monday. Fewer direct confrontations against the military indicates the group is weakening, he said. 

Buhari on Monday met U.S. President Barack Obama, who pledged to ramp up support to help the country defeat Boko Haram. 

The rebels have waging a six-year campaign to impose their version of Shariah, or Islamic law, in Nigeria.

-Bloomberg

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