Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), a combined military formation of West and Central African countries, at the weekend, approached the Cameroonian forces for assistance, especially in terms of reinforcement, to enable them turn the tide against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the troubled Chad Basin. The request followed a spate of attacks by the insurgents lately, which involved several military fatalities.
The terrorist group has continued to pose a serious threat along the Chad Basin, launching three attacks on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum. The second attack claimed the lives of about 30 persons, mostly security personnel on the convoy. A third attack followed just days after. Just before the attacks on the governor’s convoy, the insurgents had killed a Nigerian army commander and some of his soldiers in an ambush also in Borno State.
It was against this backdrop that MNJTF, which comprises units from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, contacted the Cameroonian military for support.
A press release yesterday by the Chief of Military Public Information of the N’Djamena-headquartered formation, Colonel Muhammad Dole, revealed that the MNJTF Force Commander (FC), Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, made the appeal during a three-day operational visit to Cameroonian formations/units in Maroua, in the Far North Region of the Republic of Cameroon.
Dole stated, “It is pertinent to note that the operations of Sector 1 MNJTF (Cameroon) are closely linked with the operations of other formations of the Cameroonian Defence Forces. These include Operation EMERGENCE by the 4th Joint Military Region and the 4th Gendarmerie Region as well as Operation ALPHA by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), all located in Maroua.”
He explained that the purpose of the visit was to enhance the synergy between the MNJTF and the adjoining national operations of the Cameroonian Defence Forces.
The statement said, “On arrival, Major General Yusuf paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of the Far North Region, His Excellency, Midjiyawa Bakari,” who commended the MNJTF for stabilising and restoring relative peace to the Lake Chad Basin.
Dole stated that Bakari appreciated the sacrifices of the soldiers from the MNJTF Troops Contributing Countries and assured them that the on-going military operations would ultimately bring peace and security for sustainable development of the region.
According to the statement, Yusuf, in his response, appreciated the political support and public goodwill extended to Sector 1 of MNJTF. He added that the support had facilitated the smooth execution of non-kinetic operations, leading to the surrender of several insurgents in Sector 1 Area of Operation.
Dole stated that the FC was emphatic on the unalloyed commitment of the MNJTF to creating conducive environment for the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes to pursue their legitimate economic activities.
Yusuf also visited the Headquarters of Fourth Joint Military Region, where the Commander, Major General Saly Mohamadou, extolled the existing synergy among Operations EMERGENCE, ALFA and troops of Sector 1 of MNJTF. Mohamadou, however, urged the Force Commander to explore additional areas in which the two operations could further consolidate on the operational successes recorded. He expressed the willingness to continue with joint operations between the national and MNJTF forces in the region.
Yusuf acknowledged the need for sensitisation of national forces on the imperative of non-kinetic measures as complementary efforts to kinetic operation to ensure continuous insurgents defection, the statement said. He added that winning public support was a tested veritable strategy for successful counter-insurgency operations in the region. The FC urged commanders of both the national and MNJTF forces to sustain regular operational visits for better understanding and mutual benefits.