Inside Story - Boko Haram and the battle for Nigeria's north

Al Jazeera English

by Al Jazeera English

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The Nigerian army is back on the offensive. Its target: the armed group Boko Haram. And this time it is determined to defeat them. Nigerian troops have deployed fighter jets, helicopter gunships and thousands of soldiers to take back territory the group seized in northeastern Nigeria. This week, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states. The offensive has been welcomed by many who have seen Boko Haram's violent campaign kill around 2,000 people since it began in 2009. But rights groups have called for restraint. They say they have documented cases of abuse by Nigerian forces in the past, including summary executions and random shootings. So, just how much of a danger is Boko Haram to Nigeria? And is military action the best answer? To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Jane Dutton, is joined by guests: Doyin Okupe, a senior special assistant to President Jonathan on Public Affairs; Vicki Huddleston, former US ambassador to Mali and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs; and Lucy Freeman, the deputy director for Africa at Amnesty International and author of the report Nigeria trapped in the cycle of violence.