Booby traps, tunnels, mines and dense woodland cover thousands of miles.
The Nigerian military’s push to invade the Sambisa Forest, the last stronghold of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, capture its leader and wipe the group out is delicate, highly dangerous and unlikely to be completely successful, analysts said.
Government forces have taken over numerous Boko Haram bases in the forest in Nigeria’s northeast, rescued hundreds of women and children and released aerial images of terrorists retreating, but it has yet to capture the top leaders of the group or many of its fighters.
Until the military clears the vast forest of militants, Boko Haram’s deadly raids on roads, villages and towns will continue, with more lives lost and no end to the paralysis of transportation and trade in the region. The group, fighting to establish an Islamist state in Nigeria, has killed and abducted thousands of people, although estimates of casualties vary widely.