Not less than 20 members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram have surrendered to the government in Niger, says the Federal government.
Speaking during an interview, Niger’s minister of interior, Bazoum Mohamed, said, “About 50 Boko Haram fighters have now given themselves up since December 27”since December 27.
The dare-devil jihadists surrendered at Diffa, in southeastern Niger, a Boko Haram stronghold close to the border with Nigeria, where it was reported that 31 fighters had earlier surrendered at the end of last month.
The minister attributed the success to a military squeeze on the group, launched in July, coordinated with security forces in Nigeria and Chad, where the group also operates.
“More surrenders will follow”, he said. Mohamed addded that “in some sectors, the war (against Boko Haram) is already over.”
But he warned that “organised Boko Haram elements are training” in the marshes of Lake Chad, a zone that straddles the three countries.
Unfortunately, three Niger soldiers were killed and seven wounded on the night of New Year’s Eve when Boko Haram fighters attacked their position at Baroua, in the Diffa region, the military say.
Fifteen militia were killed and another one was captured in the attack.
Boko Haram is waging a seven-year-old uprising against the Nigerian state that has claimed more than 20,000 lives, with the insurgency spilling over the West African nation’s borders into neighbouring states.
The violence has left around 2.6 million people homeless, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations warning the affected region faces the “largest crisis in Africa”.
Diffa has been one of the most affected towns by the insurgency with reports stating that thousands of people have already been killed or rendered homeless.