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Boko Haram vows to disrupt Nigerian vote

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Published on February 20, 2015 with No Comments

300 Boko Haram militants killed, claims Nigeria
Nigerian forces have killed more than 300 Boko Haram fighters during an operation to recapture 11 towns and villages since the start of the week, the military said on Wednesday, as regional neighbours also pounded the militants.

It was not possible to independently verify the military’s statement. Nigerian forces have in past been accused of overstating enemy casualties while greatly understating their own and those of civilians caught in the crossfire.

US to provide equipment, intelligence   

The US military will share communications equipment and intelligence with African allies to assist them in the fight against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, the commander of US Special Forces operations in Africa said. West African military commanders have long complained that cross-border operations against Islamist groups, from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali to Boko Haram in Nigeria, have been obstructed by lack of compatible communications equipment, making it hard to swap information and coordinate.

Two suicide attacks in northeast Nigeria have killed at least 38 persons, less than six weeks from elections, as the leader of Boko Haram vowed to disrupt the vote.

The Islamist insurgency has already forced a delay in the polls, initially scheduled for February 14, and officials had voiced hope that a regional military offensive could contain the bloodshed before the new election day, March 28.

But the latest wave of attacks blamed on the rebels underscored the challenge facing Nigeria and its neighbours – Cameroon, Chad and Niger – despite claims of successes in the joint operation launched this month.

“This election will not be held even if we are dead,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a new video, in what appeared to the first from the group released on Twitter.

Speaking before Shekau’s threat, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou vowed that his country would herald the end for the rebels, whose six-year insurgency has killed more than 13,000 people.

“Niger will be the death of Boko Haram,” he told a cheering crowd after a protest against the insurgents in the capital Niamey. But Boko Haram has proved resilient an experts question whether the group can be overpowered in the short-term.

In Nigeria’s Borno state, three assailants in a motorised rickshaw detonated explosives at a checkpoint at Yamarkumi village, near the town of Biu.

 

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