The tide has “definitely turned” in Nigeria’s ongoing campaign against Boko Haram, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday. The Islamist militant group has suffered massive casualties in recent days as a coalition of regional forces continues its push to recapture towns held by the faction.
Jonathan spoke out after at least 27 people were killed Tuesday in a pair of bombings in northern Nigeria. The government blamed Boko Haram for the attacks and accused the group of targeting civilians to avenge military setbacks. “The president assures all Nigerians and the people of the northeastern states in particular that the days of mourning victims of incessant terrorist attacks in the country will soon be over as the tide has now definitely turned against Boko Haram,” Jonathan’s office said in a statement, according to the BBC.
Aided by regional allies, Nigeria’s military has made progress in its bid to regain territory from Boko Haram, which seeks to carve out a caliphate within the nation. The coalition has seized control of eight major towns from the militant group over the past few weeks. But Boko Haram still possesses several major villages, and the local citizenry reportedly fears the group will soon seek reprisal for its losses.
Soldiers from Chad have played a major role in Nigeria’s push against Boko Haram. Chadian forces killed 207 militants while suffering minor losses in fighting near the border Nigeria shares with Cameroon, the nation’s military said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera America.
Chad’s effort is part of a larger bid to prevent Boko Haram from engaging in raids across the Nigerian border. Top commanders from allied African nations said Chad will not maintain a military presence in Nigeria for long, though critics fear Boko Haram will regain the upper hand if Chadian soldiers leave the area, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The African Union voted in January to approve a regional military alliance against Boko Haram and continues to seek the United Nations’ approval for the force. Chad, Cameroon and Niger have all committed troops to the fight against Boko Haram. Meanwhile, France has provided logistical support for operations against the militant group.