At least seven people have been killed in attacks blamed on Boko Haram terrorists, weeks after the government announced a technical victory over the group. The attacks occurred in the restive Borno state near the Sambisa Forest, one of the group's few hideouts left in northeastern Nigeria.
Two people were killed in the Izgeki village and another five in Izghe, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosive, witnesses told AFP. Izghe is in the Gwoza district, where the group declared an Islamic caliphate in 2014.
The Nigerian army is leading a regional offensive – consisting of 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin – against Boko Haram. The offensive has scored some successes, such as the recapture of key territories and the recovery of arms and vehicles used by the terrorists during their attacks.
Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?
Boko Haram (renamed Iswap) fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law throughout occupied territories.
Boko Haram carries out attacks in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in a bid to take control of more territory. Three Nigerian states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013.
Boko Haram has killed between 17,000 and 20,000 people since 2009 and was deemed the world's deadliest terror group, surpassing its ally the Islamic State (Isis), in November. Nigeria has become the world's third most terrorised country as a result of the group's violent insurgency.
The joint operation started after President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May. The president, a former military ruler, instructed the military to defeat the terrorists by December 2015.
Although several analysts said more time was needed to eradicate the terrorists, the government announced a "techinal victory" over the group in December. However, subsequent attacks blamed on Boko Haram left dozens dead in Maiduguiri and Adamawa state.
In spite of the latest attacks, defence spokesperson Rabe Abubakara told IBTimes UK the security situation in Nigeria was "extremely calm."
"The fight against Boko Haram is extremely on course," he said. "Every minute we are recording successes against the insurgents and we are doing a fantastic job. We are working to make sure the rule of terror will finish."
Abubakar added that the army was also working to defeat other criminal groups.