Africa Nigeria declares Yobe‏ State Boko Haram-free

Nigeria declares Yobe‏ State Boko Haram-free

Army spokesman Chris Olukolade
Army spokesman Chris Olukolade

(AA) – Nigerian authorities announced Monday that the northeastern Yobe State was free of Boko Haram militants, a few days after making a similar announcement about the neighboring Adamawa state.

“We announced the reclaiming of Goniri today,” defense spokesman Chris Olukolade wrote on his official Twitter account.

“That was the last stronghold of terrorists in Yobe,” he insisted. “YobeisFree #NeverAgain (Chanting).”

Boko Haram militants had taken over much of the northeastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states last year as the group stepped up its militant activity in the restive region.

Last Thursday, the Nigerian military said it had cleared the entire northeastern Adamawa state of insurgents after recapturing the Madagali local government area.

President Goodluck Jonathan recently pledged to entirely rid both Adamawa and Yobe of militants “in coming weeks.”

Jonathan had also said Borno State would be cleared of militants, although he didn’t give a timeline for this.

Nigeria recently postponed its general elections – initially slated for Feb. 14 – to March 28, citing insecurity in the country’s north.

The official electoral commission has quoted the military as saying it needed at least six weeks to create a “conducive environment” for the polls.

Nigeria is fighting a six-year Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced over one million people from the northeastern region, where the militants have been the most ruthless.

Last year, Boko Haram went from attacking communities and planting bombs to capturing entire towns.

In mid-2014, the group declared a self-styled “Islamic caliphate” in areas under its control, with its headquarters in Borno State’s town of Gwoza.

Recently, the militants have resorted to hitting soft targets in crowded places with the use of suicide bombers.