No fewer than 443 more Boko Haram terrorists and family members who escaped the week-long sustained massive attacks by the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) fighters in Borno State have surrendered to the military.
This is as the death toll arising from the clash between Boko Haram fighters and ISWAP has risen to 300 on the side of Boko Haram.
223 Boko Haram elements surrendered to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) troops in Diffa and Gueskerou, in the Republic of Niger, between March 7 and 10, 2023.
Another 220 members of the Boko Haram terrorists surrendered to the troops of Operation Hadin Kai on March 10. The surrendered fighters revealed that the ongoing rivalry between both factions had forced them to escape to safer areas.
Since February 27, 2023, the members of the Boko Haram sect have been fleeing their enclaves amidst deadly attacks targeted at the group in Gaizuwa, otherwise known as Mantari, Gabchari, Kashmiri, Maimusari in Bama, Yale in Konduga and Magumeri, by their former allies now turned bitter adversaries.
In one of the attacks led by three notorious ISWAP Commanders, comprising Mallam Abubakar Maina, Qaed Malam Dahiru, and Qaed Mallam Dahiru in Guzamala, over 200 Boko Haram militant jihadists, including their women and children, were reportedly eliminated.
The onslaught against the group continued on March 8, 2023, when more than 100 were killed on the fringes of Baga, Marte, and Dikwa. This time, the terrorists targeted only the men and spared their family members.
According to Zagazola Makama, a Counter-Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in Lake Chad, the Government of the Republic of Niger, through its Public Relations Information Directorate, had reported that the week was marked by displacement of several groups of families of terrorists leaving the Sambisa forest for Lake Chad on the Niger side.
Also, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj Gen Musa Danmadami, estimated the number of surrendered Boko Haram members within the last two weeks at 1,332. This figure has, however, increased in the following days.
It is left to be seen how the deadly rivalry between Boko Haram and their erstwhile partners in battle, ISWAP, will shape the dynamics of the more than a decade-long bloody insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Kingsley Nweze in Abuja