News 12 february — 22:29

Islamic militants’ deadly resurgence threatens Nigeria polls


 Baba Inuwa was pleased to move back to his vegetable farm in Nigeria’s northeast, encouraged by the military’s offensive against Boko Haram, the country’s homegrown Islamic extremist rebels and by President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that the insurgency had been crushed, Associated press reports.

“We thought all was over and Boko Haram can never return,” Inuwa said. He joined thousands of others in leaving displacement camps to return to their homes.

But then last month the extremists rolled into Inuwa’s hometown, Baga, firing into the air, hoisting flags and claiming it as their own. Suddenly residents were on the move again, fleeing with little more than the clothes on their backs. On a punishing two-day march through the arid Sahel, some pregnant women miscarried and other elderly people died.

Nigeria’s government now acknowledges an extremist resurgence, this time by a Boko Haram offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province, the IS group’s largest presence outside the Middle East, estimated to have more than 3,000 fighters. Their near-daily attacks have many traumatized Nigerians questioning whether they can vote for Buhari as he seeks a second term.

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