Challenges at frontline of Nigeria extremist fight - Jun 6th, 2013 - International

— Islamist extremists who had burned down a village church in northeast Nigeria have vanished as Nigeria's military regained control in a recent offensive.

Military commanders told journalists touring the region Wednesday that they had struck a decisive blow against radicals who want to impose strict Islamic law over the multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

Yet behind the smiles and speeches, commanders acknowledged fighters with the extremist network Boko Haram likely escaped their dragnet, burning equipment they couldn't carry while still maintaining an arsenal of heavy weaponry. That means Nigeria's quick military successes may carry the price of years of troop commitments to hold territory against a now-unseen adversary.

Boko Haram is responsible for more than 1,600 killings since 2010 alone, according to an Associated Press count.