To Finish Off Boko Haram, FG Looks to China for More Weapons

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•MNJTF calls for enhanced troop lifting capability, mine detection equipment
• Solicits more financial resources
•675 terrorists killed, 566 arrested, 32 camps destroyed

By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Federal Government has said that tremendous progress has been made by the security forces in the ongoing Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency operations (CT COIN) in parts of the North-East, with only minor challenges of Boko Haram remnants, landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

To this end, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama, has disclosed that government is discussing with China and other friendly countries for the supply of required arms and equipment needed to finish off the terrorists.

Onyema disclosed this on Friday during a media chat in Abuja on the ongoing 2nd Regional Security Summit with the theme: “Consolidating Collective efforts for Regional Peace and Development”.

He stated this in response to the request by the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for a number of platforms, weapons, and logistics required to sustain the ongoing operations in the North East and Lake Chad Basin area that has contiguous borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroun.

“The MNJTF has made tremendous progress in the last one year. Like Mr. President alluded there was at a time about 14 LGAs were under the Boko Haram control but today they are no longer in control. We are also working together with the frontline states in the areas of intelligence sharing. So in the military dimension we are going to look at the mechanism of cooperation and coordination.

“On the need for more weapons and others, we are engaging with various partners like China, which has asked us to indicate where we will need military assistance as well as other Western countries. The goodwill is there for assistance from our friends and partners. So it’s just the resources and process to get those equipment,” he said.

The Commander of MNJTF, Maj-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, had earlier at the summit disclosed that the regional military body made up of the troops from the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LBC), is in need of lift capability, IEDs/Mine Detection capability, and other logistic requirements.

Adeosun also noted that despite the tremendous success in defeating the Boko Haram terrorists in the past one year, there is a need for more financial resources to sustain security around the strategic region.

He listed some of challenges confronting them to include; “inadequate Lift Capability, Limitation on IEDs/Mine Capability, Inadequate Amphibious Equipment and Lack of Flat Bottom Boat, Lack of Air Capability, Difficulty in Sustaining Troops”.

He went further to recommend that “the MNJTF lift capability should be enhanced by the troop contributing countries; mine/IEDs detection and destruction equipment and capability should be enhanced across the sectors”.

He also requested for “adequate troops’ sustenance in terms of operational allowances, ration and fast-moving medical supplies should be ensured; flat bottom boats with outboard engines should be provided form MNJTF effective operations within the Lake Chad Islands.

“International organisations and other relevant partners should be encouraged to redeem their pledges for assistance in the provision of support to MNJTF and in support of humanitarian activities in the liberated areas within MNJTF Area of Responsibility; and the Heads of States should approve the upgrade of Sub Sector 3 to Sector 4 with a strength of 2000 troops as proposed”.

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