Nigeria tries to rally troops as extremists’ toll revealed

1000Source: Associated Press

By SAM OLUKOYA

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s military finally revealed a death toll of 39 from a new series of extremist attacks on soldiers, while President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday declared that Boko Haram and Islamic State-linked fighters should be wiped “from the surface of the earth.”

Another 43 soldiers were wounded in five attacks between Nov. 2 and 18, the army announced after days of silence, blaming “large numbers of Boko Haram terrorists.”

Shocked by the deaths, Buhari backed off past declarations that Boko Haram has been defeated and urged the military to “rise to the challenge.” He addressed security leaders in the turbulent northeast as he faces growing criticism ahead of next year’s election over the failure to end what he called a “must-win war.”

The Islamic State West Africa Province, the largest IS-linked extremist group in Africa and a recent Boko Haram offshoot, claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack, a Nov. 18 assault on a military base in Metele. Concerns are growing that the group, which has killed two abducted health workers in recent months, is becoming more vicious.

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