Boko Haram loses grip on thousands of square miles of northern Nigeria

Boko Haram fighters have been driven from thousands of square miles of territory across northern Nigeria, dealing a significant blow to the Islamist movement’s ambition to carve out an African “Caliphate”.

As recently as January, Boko Haram controlled about 20,000 square miles of Borno and Yobe states, ruling a domain the size of Belgium with a population of at least 1.8 million.

Within this area, the Islamist gunmen re-imposed slavery and massacred thousands of civilians.

Yet in the last fortnight, a counter-offensive by the armies of Chad and Nigeria has deprived Boko Haram of much of its gains.