Around 30 Boko Haram militants were killed and 960 of their female and child refugees who had fled neighboring Nigeria were detained in Niger last week, according to official sources.


Aerial surveillance reportedly spotted a “massive movement of people” along the Kamadougou Yoge River, which serves as the border between the two countries, on March 7 heading toward Lke Chad, the state TV channel Tele Sahel reported late Tuesday.

According to the report, they were members of the terrorist group Boko Haram who had fled their base in the Sambisa forest in northeast Nigeria due to threats from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISWAP).

After Boko Haram’s 2016 split, ISWAP quickly rose to prominence and became the most powerful militant organization in the region.

After Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau was killed in fighting with ISWAP in May 2021, the group quickly took control of large swaths of territory.

The army, according to Tele Sahel, initially tried to negotiate a surrender by sending envoys and dropping leaflets before launching a dawn assault on March 11 to stop the group from reaching Lake Chad and using its marshlands as a haven.

“around 30 terrorists were neutralized,” and 960 others, mostly women and children, were detained, transported to the town of Diffa, and turned over to the Nigerian military authorities, the report said.

Toumour, a village near the town of Bosso on the shores of Lake Chad, had an elected official confirm on Wednesday that “a large number of Boko Haram” fleeing Sambisa had been intercepted on Niger’s border and “handed over to the Nigerian authorities.” However, another official reported that many others “are heading toward (the islands on the lake), especially women and children, in terrible conditions.”

Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, is currently being attacked by two separate militant insurgencies.
One is a long-term effect of Boko Haram’s campaign in Nigeria, while the other originated in neighboring Mali in 2015.

Since 2009, the group’s violence has resulted in the deaths of over 40 thousand people and the displacement of around 2 million, as reported by the United Nations.

Boko Haram and ISWAP have both made infamous bases in the Lake Chad region, which is shared by Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.

To combat the armed groups, the four nations formed the 8,500-strong Multinational Joint Task Force in 2015.