Against Boko Haram Regional armies are struggling in last push

Reuters/Luc Gnago Reuters/Luc Gnago

Nearly ten years ago Boko Haram popped up, fanning out of Nigeria into Chad, Niger, and Cameroon- yet within 10 years the local armies have nearly eliminated the one-time unknown lethal faction.

However, one of Niger’s biggest hang-ups in defeating them is embedded within the countries’ multi-national joint task force (MNJTF).

While the wealthier countries of the world focus on fighting ISIS, the monetary support for the opposition push with Boko Haram (an ISIS ally), has been cut short.

Which leaves the joint armies such as Chad’s to take on the brunt of the expenses- which it’s hesitant to do.

 Reuters/Luc Gnago

Reuters/Luc Gnago

According to reuters the over 2 million relocated casualties of Boko Haram believe that this 30-day strategy will be successful when the rest had been ineffective.

Although there are a few who still doubt- one refugee, Usman Kanimbu, looks off in the distance seeing smoke rise from a position he had left for safety. And it wasn’t the first time he had to pack up and move with his family during the insurgency.

FRAIL ADVANCEMENT

While the fighting continues on rushing screech of Chadian fighter jets overhead as soldiers march into Lake Chad, a Boko Haram stronghold to recover the area.

The key success of the MNJTF has been eliminating Boko Haram’s grip on the region. The head of the organization, Abubakar Shekau, is even suspected dead.

However, each nation must rely on its own army to handle Boko Haram’s strikes. Albeit Chad’s troops do give reinforcement when called upon- Chad is the mightiest army in the area.

The task force was designed to fight Boko Haram together as the common enemy knows no borders. However, there is no unified effort.

Once a skirmish successfully ended, armies from Chad and Niger sent Boko Haram into northern Nigeria.

The troops desperately waited on the Nigerian army to provide security forces. Yet, fear of being trapped there themselves Niger and Chad withdrew. This, of course, creates a power vacuum allowing the enemy to continue on as it had.

 Reuters/Luc Gnago

Reuters/Luc Gnago

The task force was intended to eliminate this tactic. The African Union had even endorsed the MNJTF early in 2015, it has been a great effort to gather finance for the $700M plan. Although $250M has been pledged- distribution has gone slowly. The US offered support with intel and preparation.

PAINS OF WAR

The task force is a fraction of what it was supposed to be- a committed 8,700 mix of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, plus Benin.

One southeastern Niger attack last month in Bosso attributed to Boko Haram, killed nearly 50 combatants and civilians.

 Reuters/Luc Gnago

Reuters/Luc Gnago

Since Chad has the strongest army in the area- Chad’s President Idriss Deby gets a lot of meetings with his neighbor’s political leaders for assistance.

However, since the price of oil has dropped the president of Chad has had to refocus on financial hurdles at home. Both pressures have begun to get to Idriss Deby.

The other allies in the MNJTF combined serve little strength: Niger’s army of just 15,000 troops to cover 1.2 million square kilometers of land, Cameroon’s troops are tied up in the north in an attempting to eliminate suicide bombers, and after years of corruption the severely weakened Nigerian military must protect its own oil-producing zone.

About the Author

Mariangel Silva
Mariangel Silva is a senior reporter on NY Daily. Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from McGill University.

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