World Bulletin / News Desk
Boko Haram is better armed than the Nigerian military force fighting it, the governor of the region worst hit by the insurgency said on Friday after more than 100 people died in a village raid.
President Goodluck Jonathan ordered extra troops into northeast Nigeria in May to crush Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state in the largely Muslim north.
The military denied it was less well armed than the insurgents.
"Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops," Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima told journalists at the presidential villa after a meeting with President Jonathan.
"Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram," Shettima said.
The death toll from Sunday's raid on the village of Izge, near the border with Cameroon, was 106, Shettima said, up from an earlier estimate of 90. In the attack, the group sprayed homes with bullets, set off explosions and burned down dozens of houses.
Boko Haram remained able to "overrun communities and butcher innocent souls," despite the army presence, he said.
Reacting to Shettima's comments, defence spokesman Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said by telephone: "That cannot be true. Yes, they carry illegal arms, but are not better armed than the Nigerian army."
"Which country has ever defeated terrorism completely? This is a continuous effort ... We know there is need for improvement but ... we are improving."
Security analysts say Nigeria's military is fatigued and over-stretched in the vast and sparsely populated area of rocky hills where the insurgents are hiding out.
Jonathan faces an election in a year's time, and the persistence of Boko Haram's 4-1/2-year-old rebellion despite a costly counter-insurgency remains a serious problem.Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2014, 12:17