Troops from Chad have driven Boko Haram fighters from a northern Nigeria border town seized by the Islamist militants late last year, military sources stationed in neighbouring Niger said on Thursday.
involvement in retaking the town comes as the regional military
heavyweight assumes an increasingly aggressive role in combating the
militants and regional leaders weigh new options for containing the
Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in its
struggle to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, seized the town
of Malam Fatori in November, sending government soldiers stationed
there fleeing across the nearby border into Niger.
the Chadians retook Malam Fatori. There were clashes with Boko Haram
that lasted over 24 hours,” said a Niger army officer deployed to the
adjacent region of Diffa. “There were combat aircraft but we don’t know
A second officer said Chadian troops began
massing on the shores of Lake Chad last week before crossing into
Nigeria on Wednesday to retake Malam Fatori.
headquarters tweeted that Nigerian Air Force aircraft had been involved
in two days of air operations over the town though it did not confirm
Malam Fatori had been retaken or directly acknowledge the presence of
“(Malam Fatori) is within the area of operation
covered by the Multinational Joint Task Force of which Chad has always
been a part,” the defence headquarters’ official Twitter account said.
Chadian officials were not immediately available for comment.
four nations of the Lake Chad Basin – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria
– agreed to bring their forces together to fight Boko Haram in October,
together with a contingent from Benin, which borders Nigeria to the
But disagreements surfaced over how to deploy the troops and a cohesive fighting force has failed to materialised.
Boko Haram, which has expanded their zone of operations over the past
year most notably into northern Cameroon, has stepped up attacks in the
run-up to Feb. 14 elections in Nigeria.
President Paul Biya appealed for help to fend off Boko Haram, Chad sent
troops, armoured vehicles and attack helicopters earlier this month to
assist the thousands of Cameroonian soldiers already deployed to the
The African Union on Thursday endorsed a West African plan
to set up a regional task force of 7,500 to fight Islamist Boko Haram
militants, a senior official said, in a vital step towards securing U.N.
Security Council backing.
Source: PM News