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Chadian, Cameroonian Forces Join New Offensive In Northeast Nigeria

Multinational Joint Task Forces from Chad and Cameroon have arrived in Borno State to support an ongoing offensive against insurgents in Nigeria’s Northeast and Lake Chad Basin.

Since 2009, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) and lately, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have waged a bloody insurgency that has led to over 30,000 deaths and displacement of more than 2.3 million people in the region.

HumAngle learnt that the arrival of the transnational forces supported with heavy and light weapon systems would boost the morale of troops currently conducting an operation in the dreaded Alagarno Forest-Timbuktu triangle area.

The operation codenamed, Tura Takai Bango, a subsidiary of the Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operation Lafiya Dole and the first offensive in 2021, is leveraging on improved mobility associated with the dry season and injection of combat capabilities such as ST-1 fire support vehicle armed with a 105mm gun and the SH5 self-propelled artillery vehicle armed with a 155mm howitzer.

Over the past few days, ISWAP has targeted troops with bomb-laden vehicles,  buried improvised explosive devices and conducted raids on towns and a military base in a likely attempt to slow or divert attention.

The multinational forces are expected to strengthen Nigerian troops in northern,  southern and central Borno,  considered as the epicentre of the insurgency.

Chadian troops in the Damasak area are reported to have already encountered ISWAP in a battle.

A few weeks ago, Abakar Chachaimi, the Chadian Ambassador to Nigeria, visited Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi,  in his office in Abuja.

Magashi, a retired general, was reported to have told the Chadian Ambassador, “Now is the time and year for aggressive and collective resolve by the two countries to stop cross-border crimes fuelling the activities of Boko Haram and ISWAP.

Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, in 2020 recommended that the Federal Government seek the support of neighbours, especially the governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the Lake Chad region.

In  January, last year,  1,200 Chadian troops withdrew after the end of their months-long mission fighting insurgents alongside the Nigerian military in Northern Borno.

Chadian troops also played a significant role in recapturing towns under Boko Haram’s control  in 2015. The offensive occurred simultaneously with those launched by the Nigerian military to recapture the towns.

The remodelled Multinational Joint Task Force was instituted by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to counter Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.

Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Benin Republic have deployed troops and equipment to MNJTF headquarters in N’Djamena and sectional headquarters in Bagasola in Chad, Baga in Nigeria, Diffa in Niger and Mora in Cameroon.

Joint operations such as Gama Aiki, Rawan Kada and Yancin Tafki have enabled military cooperation required to dislodge the insurgents’ camps on the common borders, islands and vast ungoverned areas in the Lake Chad Basin.

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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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