While the world has largely been focused on the developments with ISIS in Iraq and Syria, another militant Islamic group, Boko Haram, has made devastating gains in Nigeria as well.
Boko Haram in recent weeks has taken a string of towns stretching over 200 miles alongside Nigeria's northeast border with Cameroon in a new campaign to create an Islamic caliphate, mimicking the IS group in Syria and Iraq.
The extremists also have attacked a town and villages across the border in Cameroon, but that country's state radio said Cameroonian troops beat them off and forced them back across the border into Nigeria. […]
Thousands of civilians have been forced from their homes in the latest offensive, joining more than 1.5 million other Nigerians who are refugees within their country or across borders in Niger, Cameroon and Chad, according to U.N. figures.
Extremists who have taken other towns have told residents that their next target is Maiduguri, the headquarters of the military campaign in the northeast. Boko Haram has attacked the city several times, with suicide and car bombs that have killed scores. In December they launched a bold attack on an air force base on the outskirts in which they destroyed five aircraft and in February an assault on the main military barracks in the city in which they freed hundreds of detainees.
On Friday, however, in what has been described as a rare military victory, soldiers killed roughly 200 extremists as they were advancing on Maiduguri. According to one officer, a leading commander was among the militants who were killed. There were no military casualties.