Nigerian army
The Nigerian army claims terrorists are surrendering following the success of new operation in the north-east Getty Images

The Nigerian army says members of terror group Boko Haram are surrendering "en masse" while it claims the regional offensive is scoring success against the militants. This is the result of new counter-insurgency strategies, part of the operation Lafiya Dole, adopted in the north-east of the country, said spokesperson, Colonel Sani Usman.

Boko Haram, which is fighting to overthrow the current regime and establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the occupied territories, carries out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The group has killed more than 15,000 people since its insurgency became violent in 2009.

Nigeria is leading a new task force – consisting of 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin – in the fight against the terrorists.

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 in 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 territory.

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

Usman said in a statement: "The Nigerian Army in conjunction with the Nigerian Airforce and other security agencies will continue to devise and implement effective strategies to bring Boko Haram terrorism to a speedy end.

"It will also continue to receive surrendering suspects and assures innocent ones among them that surrender is the only option open to them.

"The Nigerian Army wishes to also appreciate the great support and information it receives from well meaning citizens. More of these are required to help towards quicker obliteration of the Boko Haram scourge in our nation."

Boko Haram did not make any comment following Usman's statement. Although the regional offensive has scored some success, such as the recapture of a key town in Borno state, some analysts said the group will not be defeated by November, as promised by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Boko Haram is believed to have carried out an attack in Cameroon on 13 September, killing at least seven people. Earlier in September, Nigerian intelligence warned that some Boko Haram members had been arrested in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub, suggesting that the group's insurgence could spread beyond the country's north.

Meanwhile, France pledged military support to the regional offensive while Buhari is on a three-day official visit in Paris.

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