President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari
President Buhari vowed Nigeria would do anything it can to defeat Boko Haram

The US announced it will provide $5m (£3.1m) to Nigeria and its neighbouring countries engaged in a joint offensive to halt terror group Boko Haram.

The state department official added that the US is already providing $34m (£21.6m) to Chad, Niger and Cameroon for logistics and other equipment, Reuters reported.

The country is also to send military trainers to help the Nigerian army improve its intelligence gathering and logistics.

Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?

Boko Haram fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law on the country. The group declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.

Boko Haram has raided several cities in the north of the country in a bid to take control of more land.

Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram's attacks.

The group has killed at least 2,600 people since the beginning of 2015. More than 200 have been killed since the beginning of June.

The Nigerian government is being aided by mercenaries and troops from Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon in its offensive and has scored some successes since the military cooperation started in February.

Newly elected President Buhari, a former military chief, vowed Nigeria would do anything it can to defeat the deadly insurgence and find some 220 girls who were kidnapped by Boko haram in Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014.

The US announcement came hours after at least eight policemen were killed in a bomb attack in Damboa, Borno.

Boko Haram is also suspected of being behind a terror attack that occurred outside the police headquarters and academy in Chad's capital N'Djamena that killed dozens of people in June.

More about Nigeria

Colonisation

Between 1790 and 1807, Britain acquired an estimated 2,000 slaves per year from Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. In 1807, Britain stopped the practice after the implementation of the Slave Trade Act and annexed Lagos in 1861 after it bombarded the town, deposing leader Oba Kosoko who supported the slave trade, and helped install Oba Akitoye.

Independence

Britain officially occupied Nigeria from 1885 until 1960, when the country gained independence.

Biafra and civil war

Tensions due to political differences among Nigeria's main ethnic groups – the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba – as well as perceived corruption in the political and electoral process culminated with several coups d'etat, which further ignited tensions between the north and south of the country. The situation further worsened when the then Eastern Region declared independence from the rest of Nigeria and proclaimed the Republic of Biafra in 1967.

A civil war ensued when the Nigerian army invaded Biafra in 1967. The 30-month conflict resulted in the death of between one and three million people and the end of the Republic of Biafra. Hundreds of thousands of people died of starvation as a result of restrictions on Red Cross aid and food supplies to Biafra imposed by the Nigerian government.

Terrorism

Ethnic tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country started during the colonisation era, when the British promoted the spread of Christianity in the Bornu Empire – modern day north-east Nigeria – ruled according to the principles of the Constitution of Medina, believed to have been drafted by the Prophet Mohammed. Violence increased when the Muslim sect Yan Tatsine instigated deadly riots in Kano state. As a result, the sect leader was killed and violence spread across other cities in the north east.

In 2002 Mohammed Yusuf founded Boko Haram – translated from the Hausa language as "Western education is forbidden" – attracting unemployed poor Muslims with his rhetoric focusing on the country's widespread corruption. Boko Haram is still active today and aims to establish an Islamic Caliphate in northern Nigeria where it fights against Western influence and aims to impose its version of Sharia law.

The group, now led by Abubakar Shekau, has killed thousands of people since its insurgency became violent in 2009 and declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.

Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram's attacks.