According to data collected by the Nigeria Social Violence Project, between April 29th and Buhari’s inauguration, President Goodluck Jonathan’s last month in office, Boko Haram launched 24 attacks claiming 679 lives. Since Buhari was sworn in, there have been 27 attacks with 616 casualties.

 Moreover, the Buhari administration has announced only one major victory over the insurgents, in mid-June, when government forces killed “scores” of militants in Yobe State; overall, the death toll among the insurgents is down sharply compared to Jonathan’s last month in office.

There is sometimes discrepancies from the authorities over details on how many insurgents were killed or the number of civilian casualties which can at times make it difficult to assess Nigerian efforts. Adding to the confusion are the geopolitical rivalries at play and the tight-lipped nature of Nigeria’s regional security partners according to a qz article.

 Following an attack on N’Djamena, the Chadian military announced that it had conducted retaliatory airstrikes against Boko Haram within Nigeria’s borders. But Chad did not release fatality statistics and Nigeria denied the airstrikes had taken place within its territory.
The insurgency has also seen a tactical shift. In the month before Buhari took office, the insurgents struck urban targets just six out of 24 times; since he took office, 16 of the 27 attacks have been on urban targets.

As a part of this shift away from overrunning territory, the insurgency has been relying more heavily upon suicide bombers. In the month before Buhari, there were six suicide bombers, two of whom were women; under Buhari there have been 13 suicide bombings, 11 of which have been carried out by women or girls, often acting in pairs.

All this suggests that government forces have increased the pressure on the insurgency, and in response it is resorting to urban guerilla tactics. As a result it is also increasingly attacking “soft” targets such as markets and bus depots, putting civilians at higher risk.


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