Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says his country has “technically” won the war against Boko Haram, in comments issued days before his self-imposed deadline for defeating the militant group.
Buhari told British radio late Wednesday that Boko Haram is no longer capable of carrying out conventional attacks against security forces or population centers. He said they have now “reverted” to using improvised explosive devices instead.
Buhari won the presidency in March on a platform that included a pledge to wipe out Boko Haram.
But Buhari’s critics say his administration has exaggerated its success, noting that Boko Haram continues to carry out deadly suicide attacks and has spread into neighboring Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.
A report last month said Boko Haram has become the deadliest terrorist group in the world, killing more than 6,000 people in 2014, in addition to several thousand more this year.
The United Nations Children’s Fund said this week that the violence has forced more than 2,000 schools to close and disrupted the education of more than a million children.
The group has been fighting since 2009 to establish a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.