Concerted Offensive against Boko Haram

Joint military operations are currently underway in the Lake Chad basin by partner forces in the fight against the nebulous Sect Boko Haram to which the Cameroon Defence Forces is not an exception. This declaration was made known by the Nigerian Defence Minister Mansur Mohamed Dan Ali.

Once completed, this operation will also “install our security systems” and promote the “return” of thousands of people who have fled since 2015 the islands of the lake, said the minister.

Although “totally weakened”, Boko Haram nevertheless represents “a real threat”, said the minister, without specifying on the beginning and the end of operations, nor on the quotas involved.
In early April, the UN office in Niamey reported on “ongoing military operations” in the islands of Lake Chad by the “Multinational task Joint Force of the lake chad basin” (composed of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria). This “military offensive” against Boko Haram was to be conducted “from April to June,” according to the UN.

The United Nations also fear that these operations entail the displacement of “more than 15 000 people” still living on the islands to the mainland. After a deadly raid on Nigerian army positions, the authorities of Diffa had evacuated in March 2015 some 25,000 people from the islands of Lake Chad.

Since its beginning in 2009, the Boko Haram conflict has displaced 2.4 million people in northern Nigeria, as well as in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Refugees (UNHCR). At the end of January 2018, UNHCR launched a $ 157 million appeal for refugees uprooted by Boko Haram violence in the Lake Chad region.

Efforts on concerted actions

The partner countries involved in the fight against the nebulous sect Boko Haram which involves Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and recently Benin are carrying joint operations under the banner of the multinational joint task force of the Lake Chad basin MNJTF.

As a result, the MNJTF is a coalition of states that came into being to confront a common threat. Since the majority of the countries concerned belong to the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Boko haram’s reach has spread to the shores of the Lake Chad Basin, the organization appeared as the ‘natural’ or ‘default’ institutional framework to take on this effort.

The multinational joint task force of the Lake Chad Basin has as vocation to create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko haram and other terrorist groups, facilitate the implementation of overall stabilization programs by the LCBC Member states and Benin in the affected areas, including the full restoration of state authority and the return of IDps [internally displaced people] and refugees; and facilitate, within the limit of its capabilities, humanitarian operations and the delivery of assistance to the affected populations.

Gerard Alingwa

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