Nigeria Boko Haram
Nigeria's military ordered to defeat Boko Haram within three months (Reuters)

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the country's military to defeat Boko Haram within three months. The leader made the comment as he swore in a new set of military chiefs in Abuja on Thursday 13 August.

"You need to brace up and continue to team up with other stakeholders to come up with a well coordinated joint effort which will bring a desired end to these insurgencies within three months," he was quoted by AFP as saying.

Buhari also said the army should carry on in its fight against terrorism by respecting international standards. "You should also ensure that they abide with the newly enforced rules and relations of international standards while carrying out their assigned tasks," he said. "In particular you must protect innocent civilians and respect the rights of combatant. This no doubt will earn the support of local communities and the respect of our allies and support of international community."

Earlier in 2015, the Nigerian army was accused by Amnesty International of carrying out war crimes and being responsible for the death of at least 8,000 people. Buhari said he would look into the claims.

Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?

Boko Haram (recently renamed Iswap) 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. Some 200 have been killed since the beginning of June.

The Nigerian army announced a new task force – consisting of 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin – is ready to step up in the fight against the terrorists.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria and neighbouring countries since its insurgency became violent in 2009. At least 47 people were killed in a bomb attack in the Nigeria's restive Borno state. The militants are also suspected of having killed five people in a village in Cameroon.

It is believed the group recently appointed a new leader after Abubakar Shekau failed to appear in the group's latest propaganda videos, triggering speculation regarding his fate. The announcement was made by Chad's President Idriss Deby. Neither Boko Haram nor the Nigerian government have confirmed a change in the leadership.

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