'War is Being Won,' Says Head of Regional Force Battling Boko Haram
BUDUA, CAMEROON — The head of the multinational task force fighting Boko Haram says the war against the militants is being won, but warned that suicide bombings remain a threat, killing close to 400 people in Nigeria and Cameroon since April.
Soldiers from the 7,800-person task force have been stationed in several towns and villages along the Nigeria-Cameroon border since those communities were liberated from Boko Haram a little over a year ago.
The force's commander, Nigerian-born General Lucky Irabor, visited four communities along the border on Saturday to reassure local residents and rally the troops.
"Boko Haram and other criminal gangs, their end has come. Boko Haram is on the downward trend," Irabor told the soldiers. "That alone should motivate you to know that the war is being won, and for you to give in the last of your energy and your commitment so that they would be completely defeated."
Irabor ordered the soldiers to focus on stopping suicide bombers, and to work more closely with local self-defense groups. He urged civilians to report anything or anyone suspicious.