A South African mercenary who helped the Nigerian army recapture huge amounts of territory from Boko Haram insurgents has accused the country’s government of squandering the gains it made with his help.
Colonel Eeben Barlow, a veteran commander in the apartheid-era South African Defence Forces, led a team of mercenaries who secretly trained up an elite Nigerian strike force back in 2015.
Hired by then President Goodluck Jonathan in the wake of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction, the mercenaries were credited with driving Boko Haram out of most of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria.
When Mustafa Kolo, 23, takes the bright red pills he feels like he can push a tree. It’s like his body isn’t his. They obliterate the negative thoughts.
“When I take it, I forget everything,” he says.
It’s 10:00, Mr Kolo and his friend Modu Mohamed are with their boss, the commander of a vigilante unit set up to protect the city of Maiduguri from Boko Haram.
The only Christian among the 110 schoolgirls ran away from her kidnappers but was caught and brought back three days later, according to fellow captives speaking in their first face-to-face interview since they were returned to their families last week.
Leah Sharibu is the only one of the Dapchi girls that Boko Haram refused to hand over after negotiations with the Nigerian government, apparently because she refused to renounce her faith and convert to Islam. She is still held by the group.
Kidnapped by a militant group that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions across north-east Nigeria and the surrounding region, the girls’ extraordinary bravery shines through their testimony.
Boko Haram Islamists who kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria just over a month ago have returned 76 of the students to the town.
The schoolgirls were returned to Dapchi by Boko Haram early Wednesday morning following negotiations between the Nigerian government and the ISIS-affiliated militant group.
Work is now ongoing to secure the safe return of the remaining 34 girls.
The kidnap of more than 100 girls from a boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria has become shrouded in confusion.
We know that a group of militants, presumably from Boko Haram, arrived in the town of Dapchi, Yobe State, during the evening of Monday, 19 February.
They headed for the Government Girls Science and Technical College, fleeing a little while later.
Originally, it was claimed many of the girls had escaped and no-one had been kidnapped. But a week later, authorities have admitted they were taken by the Islamist extremists.
So, what exactly is going on?
Nigeria’s government was accused of provoking the terror group Boko Haram into carrying out a mass abduction of schoolgirls by claiming falsely that it had defeated the group.
Dozens of girls from a boarding school in the northern town of Dapchi are still missing after a raid by Boko Haram on Monday, which had echoes of the group’s notorious Chibok kidnapping in 2014.
Monday’s attack was the latest in a two-month upsurge in Boko Haram violence that followed a victorious Christmas Eve address by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari. He claimed that the group had been crushed in their “last enclave” in northern Nigeria’s vast Sambisa forest.
When Ibrahim was nine years old, Boko Haram militants chopped off his friend’s hand and dipped the stump in boiling oil.
Much of his family had been butchered by the group; when he was 11, he saw a jihadi shooting his father dead.
‘When I think about Boko Haram I have no emotion,’ he told MailOnline in Bikari camp in Maiduguri, the wartorn capital of Borno state in northeastern Nigeria. ‘I don’t think I feel anything any more.’
The militant Islamist group Boko Haram released a video on Monday which purported to show some of the girls kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok nearly four years ago, saying they do not wish to return home.
Of the some 270 girls originally abducted from their school in April 2014, about 60 escaped soon afterwards and others have since been released after mediation. Around 100 are still believed to be in captivity.
A group of about 12 teenage girls and young women, some of whom are holding babies, are seen in the 21-minute video.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video message on Tuesday claiming a series of attacks in northeast Nigeria during the festive season.
The shadowy leader released his first video message in months amid a surge in violence casting doubt on the Nigerian government’s claim that the jihadist group is defeated.
‘We are in good health and nothing has happened to us,’ said Shekau in the 31-minute video message spoken in the Hausa language common across northern Nigeria
The majority of suicide bombers that terrorist group Boko Haram uses to kill innocent civilians are women and children, a study has revealed.
Analyzing 434 suicide bombings carried by the Nigeria-based group since 2011, researchers at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Yale University found that at least 244 of the gender identifiable 338 attacks were carried out by women.
In just 2017 alone, Boko Haram has already sent 80 women to their deaths.
Parents in the northeast of Nigeria are giving their daughters to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions, the country’s military said.
Some arrested female suicide bombers have testified that “minors were donated to the terrorists sect’’ by their parents and guardians, as part of their contribution to the Boko Haram insurgency, spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement Sunday on the Nigerian Army’s website. Authorities are appealing to religious and community leaders to help stop the practice, he said.
More than 50 people were killed in a Boko Haram ambush on an oil exploration team in northeast Nigeria earlier this week, multiple sources told AFP on Thursday, warning the death toll could rise.
Tuesday’s attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on a convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the Islamist militants’ deadliest in months.
It underscored the persistent threat posed by the jihadists, despite government claims they were a spent force, and also the risks associated with the hunt for crude in the volatile Lake Chad basin.
Nigeria is set to pass a record-breaking federal budget. After months of political wrangling, several governmental departments are in line to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from state coffers. Among the biggest beneficiaries is the country’s Ministry of Defense, which will receive around $440 million in capital expenditure alone.
But for Nigerians in the country’s troubled northeast, the planned cash injection isn’t necessarily good news. For years, the federal government has been amping up defense spending, hoping to stamp out Boko Haram, a militant group that has waged an armed insurgency in Nigeria since 2009.
Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 who they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014, officials said on Saturday.
The girls were released through negotiations with the government, in exchange for prisoners.
A military source said the girls were currently in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The terror sect Boko Haram is “actively planning to kidnap” westerners to raise ransom money, the Foreign Office has warned.
It issued new travel advice for Nigeria after receiving reports that the group was plotting the kidnaps in the north east of the country.
America also warned its citizens about the risk, which it said was based on “credible” information. Both countries said the affected area is in the Bama local government area of Borno state, close to the border with Cameroon.