THE north-eastern Nigerian town of Chibok is spared little. Earlier this year fighters from the extremist group, Boko Haram, abducted more than 200 local schoolgirls. In the past week insurgents and government troops have traded possession of urban districts and surrounding farmland, leaving much of it burnt.
The Nigerian army, one of the biggest in Africa, should have little difficulty scattering the amateur jihadists. But its arsenal is decrepit and its troops poorly trained. Hence the government’s decision to spend $1 billion on new aircraft and training, among other things. Critics question how much will go towards appropriate kit (never mind how much gets stolen by corrupt generals) and whether it is sensible to lavish resources on a force implicated in atrocities and human-rights abuses.