Boko Haram on the Back Foot ?
The Lake Chad states should not too quickly proclaim “mission accomplished”, though the military response to Boko Haram has become more cogent. Even if they are forced to abandon their guerrilla war, or are made to abandon all territorial pretensions in Nigeria’s north east and the Lake Chad area, some Boko Haram militants at least are likely to seek to continue their insurgency in some form, probably through terror attacks. For Nigeria and its neighbours, the job will only become more complicated. Beyond military action, more complex governance and development challenges need to be addressed. In the coming year, Crisis Group will look at Boko Haram’s regionalization and transformation, its social impact, patterns of recruitment and radicalization, female experiences, MNJTF effectiveness and regional cooperation. Two years after the first was held in Paris, the 14 May regional security summit, is an opportunity to consolidate regional and wider international cooperation and, crucially, to review the current policies of Nigeria and its partners. The summit’s concept note indicates that the Lake Chad states and their international partners recognize the numerous steps and initiatives needed to curb Boko Haram, including restoring security to long-neglected peripheries and borders while respecting rule of-law, protecting victims and beginning infrastructure development in insurgency affected areas so IDPs and refugees can go home.