Boko Haram: MNJTF under threat as Chad army hints at withdrawal

The Multi-National Joint Task Force, which is the regional military force fighting the Boko Haram, may be under threat, as one of the four countries, Chad, announced that it would no longer be taking part in any regional fighting force.

It is not clear yet how soon the Chadian announcement would affect the MNJTF, which is also headquartered in N’djamena, the country’s capital.

The Chadian President, President Idriss Deby, hinted at this withdrawal on Thursday when he said on a national television that Chadian troops would no longer participate in military operations outside the country’s borders against armed groups active in the Lake Chad region and the Sahel.

“Our troops have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside Chad.

“Chad is alone in shouldering all the burden of the war against Boko Haram,” Deby said.

According to Aljazeera, the Chad Amy spokesman, Colonel Azem Agouna, also hinted at the withdrawal, adding that 52 troops died during the country’s full scale operation against the Boko Haram, which began since March 31.

He said, “A thousand terrorists have been killed and 50 motorised canoes have been destroyed.”

The Chad army spokesman noted that the operation, which was launched after nearly 100 soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram attack last month, ended on Wednesday after the armed fighters were forced out of the country.

But military sources in Abuja have said Chad will not withdraw from the MNJTF despite threats because no country among the four, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger Republic, was able to combat the insurgency alone.

“Why did we have the MNJTF in the first place? Why did we pull troops from Nigeria and the other countries? It was because of the fluid nature of the Boko Haram whereas they hit and run to islands and enclaves in neighbouring countries to hide. If any country pulls out, it only means the Boko Haram can strike them and hide in a neighbouring country and you don’t have the leverage to pursue and arrest the fighters. That is more terrible.

“I believe those grievances would be sorted out at Presidential levels and the military cooperation would continue as none of us can defeat the Boko Haram singlehandedly, not at this stage anymore,” one of the sources said.

However, the Multi-National Joint Task Force said it was not aware of any decision by Chad to pull out its troops from any regional fighting force, adding that the troops of the four countries were still on ground.

The MNJTF Chief of Public Information, Col Timothy Antigha, stated this in an interview with our correspondent.

He said, “We in the MNJTF are not aware of that information. As I speak to you now, we are not aware of that. I am in Chad and in Ndjamena. So if I’m in the country, that means that the subsisting cooperation is ongoing.

“I don’t know the source of that information. We are not privy to any such information.”
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