By Kingsley Nwezeh
In a renewed bid to contain insurgency in the Lake Chad region, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) yesterday said it was exploring areas of possible support from the United Kingdom Government in the fight against terrorism in the region.
The Force Commander of MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Yusuf made the request at a meeting with British officials in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Speaking at the session, Yusuf said the meeting was aimed at exploring possible areas of interventions in furtherance of MNJTF’s mandate of degrading the terrorists and creating an enabling environment for peace and development in the Lake Chad region.
The force commander met with the First Secretary Political (Lake Chad Basin), Dr Katharine Brooks and Deputy Defence Advisor at the British High Commission in Nigeria, Lieutenant Colonel Bobby Gillespie.
According to him, the meeting afforded the force commander the opportunity to provide insight on MNJTF operational capabilities, successes and challenges.
He explained that critical areas, which were scoped for possible UK Government support to the MNJTF included civil military cooperation (CIMIC), information operations as well as counter improvised explosive device (IED) capabilities.
He said “a follow-up meeting was held in N’Djamena on January 22 between the FC and Colonel Nick Abram, Commander Operation TURUS and British Military Assistance Training Team West Africa, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Nick Thom, the UK representative in the Centre for Coordination and Liaison.
The meeting was a build-up on earlier discussions in Maiduguri with emphasis on areas for direct operational support.
The meeting presented an ample opportunity for direct interactions between operational staff of MNJTF and Operation TURUS, which was mutually rewarding and beneficial as it enhanced common understanding of the operational environment.
In his remarks, the Force Commander commended the UK Government for its previous support to MNJTF and the renewed efforts at enhancing the non-kinetic operations of the force.
The UK Government had supported the MNJTF in 2015 through the provision of vehicles, rough terrain motorcycles, power generating set of different capacities, dental equipment and communication equipment amongst other items.