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Dec. 28 (GIN) – With only days to go before a self-imposed deadline for defeating Boko Haram, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has declared a “technical” victory against the militants.

In an interview with the British BBC, Buhari credited his security forces with incapacitating Boko Haram so they could no longer mount conventional attacks against population centers. As evidence, he said they have reverted to using improvised explosive devices in their heartland of Borno.

Buhari won the presidency in March on a platform that included a pledge to wipe out Boko Haram.

But if defeated technically or otherwise, how have they been able to carry out deadly suicide attacks, and move into neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad?

Nigerians on the website were in strong disagreement with the official statement. Writer Oluwafemi penned: “Yes. Only technical terrorists, and technical sorrow, technical tears and technical blood still flood the north east.”  Nsikanabasi Umoffong wrote: “Yes, you've technically won by using the press to suppress news about new attacks.”

Meanwhile, attacks were stepped up by the militants in the Lake Chad zone where the borders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria meet.

A report last month said Boko Haram has become the deadliest terrorist group in the world, killing more than 6,000 people in 2014, in addition to several thousand more this year.

The United Nations Children's Fund said this week that violence has forced more than 2,000 schools to close and disrupted the education of more than a million children.

A U.S. plan to deploy up to 300 American troops against Boko Haram in Cameroon may come up against an unexpected foe – child soldiers.

Meanwhile, Cameroon’s religious community is trying out another strategy. Several churches are sponsoring interfaith gatherings for Christmas. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the capital, Yaounde, traditionally invites Muslims to help celebrate Jesus’ birth with a feast. This year a Muslim cleric was given time to preach.

Pastor Charlemagne Nditemen said Muslims and Christians would celebrate at the Cameroon Baptist Convention, one of the country’s oldest churches.

Of Cameroon’s 23.7 million residents, 40 percent are Christian, 20 percent are Muslim and the rest hold indigenous beliefs. w/pix of Nigerian children rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest



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