Boko Haram: Civilian cost of the military offensive

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No end in sight
The military offensive against Boko Haram, including air strikes and ground attacks, has weakened the rebels, including eliminating many of their leaders and camps. But the experiences of other nations that have confronted terrorist groups, including Western powers, shows that military superiority is not necessarily the decisive factor in containing terrorism. The challenge facing the Nigerian authorities is to build a more effective intelligence infrastructure and network capable of monitoring and identifying terrorists so that the security forces can routinely and with precision maintain security without endangering the innocent. Furthermore, developing the social and economic infrastructure to provide the means for local communities to escape poverty will also be key to reducing the attractiveness for locals to seek redress by joining militant groups.  However, these are a huge and expensive tasks in a vast and underdeveloped country like Nigeria, especially in remote countryside areas where Islamist extremists have been pushed out to. The threat of Boko Haram and organisations like it, therefore, is set to persist.


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