Under the combined pressure of forces from Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria Islamic extremists Boko Haram are not having things all their own way. The Nigerian army has been celebrating the recapture of the town of Baga, part of an ongoing offensive in the north of the country.
Air strikes are also providing effective support in pushing back Boko Haram. who have lost several towns and villages in recent weeks.
Baga has strategic value because of its proximity to Nigeria’s borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon, and retaking the town means the four-nation alliance can restore its joint command there.
Militarily important then, but Baga’s residents feel abandoned.
“We just depend on any food that any one of us, man, woman or child, finds. The few wares I have for sale struggle to sell, but I still make a little money. But there’s nothing to buy because they ate everything and destroyed the market. Shops have been cosed for three months now,” said one elderly man.
The city will need time to recover from Boko Haram’s brief rule, which saw thousands of homes and structures destroyed beyond the deaths and disappearances.