The Nigerian electoral commission has decided to postpone the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for February 14th, the Associated Press reports. The six-week delay will allow a newly-formed multinational force the opportunity to reclaim areas controlled by Boko Haram.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged Nigeria to hold the elections as scheduled. "It's imperative that these elections on time as scheduled," Kerry said. This would be "one of the best ways to fight back against Boko Haram." Boko Haram, however, has driven 1.5 million people from their homes in Nigeria's northeast—millions of people who, the AP reports, could be disenfranchised if voting went ahead.
The elections' delay is also opposed by the opposition coalition, whose candidate Muhammadu Buhari—Nigeria's former military dictator—has garnered support from those who believe he will enact a stronger response against the insurgency.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that on Friday Boko Haram crossed Nigeria's border into Niger for the first time. Fighters from the militant Islamist group attacked Bosso, a remote town to which thousands of refugees have fled. According to Reuters, Niger state television reported that 109 Boko Haram fighters were killed as well as four soldiers from Niger.