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Boko Haram On The Alert As Chad Prepares Major Response To Military Setbacks

Chad is preparing for what appears to be an all-out assault on insurgents operating in the Lake Chad Basin. A new wave of terrorist attacks hit the Chadian military position as well as the Nigerian troops in March. The nations of the Lake Chad Basin have been locked in fierce combat with the variants of the terrorist groups operating in the region.

But a resulting directive by the Chadian government to all Chadian villages and communities in the war zone to evacuate immediately to secured cities and towns suggests a major military response. Earlier, the Chadian President Idris Derby, visited the leader of the Multinational Joint Task Force, (MJTF), Major-General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf. The MJTF is dominated by Nigerian troops but headquartered in Chad.

HumAngle is yet to obtain an official explanation to the directive to Chadian villages and communities but a statement released by the Chief of Public Information, MJTF, Col. Timothy Antigha, disclosed that President Derby offered “strategic guidance and support urgently needed to ramp up the tempo of operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the region.”

Sources familiar with the issues informed HumAngle that President Derby’s visit was most likely a show of courtesy by which he wanted to personally put the Nigerian Military high command on notice about his plan of action against the insurgents.

The MNJTF was created in the war to combat the insurgency in 2015 given the escalating boundaries of the attacks across national territories. The MNJTF conducts military operations against insurgents concurrently with a national military counteroffensive by Nigerian, Nigerien and Chadian forces.

The violence has led to an estimated 35,000 deaths, thousands more injured and abducted with at least 1.5 million displaced persons. Despite the successful military campaigns and relative peace especially in Garrison towns, further-flung communities have been exposed to nothing close to peace.

The recent spike in attacks by armed groups in the Lake Chad region comes on the heels of the bloody internal feud within ISWAP that resulted in a recent bloody change of leadership.

On March 8, ISWAP attacked a Military outpost in the southeastern region of Diffa in the Niger Republic, killing eight with three others missing. On March 22, in North Central Nigeria over 20 soldiers and police officers were killed in an ambush by gunmen suspected to be Ansaru fighters in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

On March, 23, in the Chadian Boma peninsula, in Lake Chad, 92 Chadian soldiers were killed with 42 injured following an attack by a cell of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram. The attack was at a military garrison located in the shoreline community.

On the same day in Northeastern Nigeria, over 50 soldiers were killed in an attack by ISWAP. Confirming the attack at a press briefing, Coordinator of Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj Gen. John Enenche, blamed the attack on leaked intelligence on the movement of troops on clearance operation to Gorgi in the Alagarno forest area.

Sources within the intelligence community believe that President Derby is readying a major force to respond aggressively against the insurgents in a manner that anchors on the proverbial ‘no retreat, no surrender’ Military campaign onslaught.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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