The Nigerian military says it has retaken from Boko Haram the town of Baga where 2,000 people were reportedly killed in early January.
The Nigerian military’s push to retake towns formerly seized by Boko Haram fighters in the past few months comes as Cameroon, Chad and Niger launch joint military operations against the Islamist extremist group, which has used its hold on northwest territories to launch raids into neighboring countries.
The Nigerian military has been slowly regaining the momentum against Boko Haram; last week it recaptured Monguno and Marte, also in the northeast.
But Boko Haram still retains significant capabilities to strike at towns in the northeastern state of Borno. On Friday, they attacked villages in Borno and killed 21 people, according to witnesses.
The combined military effort, sanctioned by the African Union and supported in part by Washington, is also seen to pave the way for Nigeria to hold national elections at the end of March.
They were previously pushed back from February for fear of Boko Haram terror attacks.
Meanwhile, the US has increased its assistance to African nations fighting Boko Haram. According to media reports, Washington dispatched military hardware to Cameroon, which has been the target of Boko Haram’s cross border raids.
On February 16, Cameroonian President Paul Biya hosted the leaders of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) who agreed to provide his country and Chad with nearly $100 million to assist in their fight against Boko Haram.
The combined African force is expected to reach 8,700 troops.