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Nigerian Governor Demands 100,000 Troops to Quell Insurgency

A woman and her daughter stand in front of their burnt home after a Boko Haram attack at Dalori in Konduga local government area of Borno State, North-East Nigeria, 6 February 2016. (EPA/Stringer)

(Bloomberg) --Nigeria must recruit 100,000 additional soldiers to end the long-running insurgency by the Islamist Boko Haram group, the governor of a state at the epicenter of the violence said.

The militant group has inflicted “horrific and simultaneous attacks” in Borno state since March 2019, Governor Babagana Zulum said in a statement emailed on Wednesday. “The military don’t have the manpower, they don’t have the equipment.”

President Muhammadu Buhari won an in election in 2015 with pledges including that he would end the insurgency that’s estimated to have killed more than 30,000 people in 10 years. Initial efforts by his administration drove the insurgents away from towns and villages they occupied.

In recent months, some of those gains have been reversed as the militants benefit from a steady flow of arms from Libya across the Sahara Desert and an alliance with Islamic State. Government troops, meanwhile, complain of poor equipment and low morale.

The Nigerian army is currently 200,000-strong, with troops deployed in at least 29 of the country’s 36 states to contain various levels of unrest.

Since the start of the year, Boko Haram has released videos of executions of more than two dozen people, including soldiers, aid workers and Christian captives. In January, 17 soldiers were killed on the highway between the towns of Bama and Gwoza, in two separate attacks that add to the tally of increased insurgent activities.

If Zulum’s recommendation is implemented, half of the new recruits should come from Borno state, the birth place of the insurgency that started in 2009, the governor said.

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