Nigeria's neighbour, Chad, may be the major backer of Boko Haram with eyes on the oil deposits in the Chad Basin, Borno state. The Cable reports.
There are indications that there are hydrocarbon deposits in the Chad Basin covering 3,350 square metres, with federal government pumping close to N30bn in the last two years into feasibility studies of the oil potential there.
Countries such as Chad, Niger and Sudan with similar structural settings are already exploring or producing oil on their own soil.
Chad came into focus when the phantom ceasefire deal brokered in October by its President, Idriss Déby, alerted the security agencies to a possible involvement of the West African country in the insurgency.
“Chad might be eyeing control of the Chad Basin in Borno state, which is believed to be very rich in hydrocarbon reserves,” a senior military officer told TheCable.
“We now have enough grounds to suspect that the staying power of Boko Haram is Chad. While the terrorists have been striking against Cameroon, they have never carried out any attack in Chad. Their arms may be passing through the Chadian territory.”
There are unconfirmed reports in the past that has linked the Chadian government as a major supplier of arms to Boko Haram. Nigerian authorities have been investigating the insurgents source of arms in the last five years.
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Although the militants are reputed to loot Nigerian armouries when they invade barracks, some of the weapons recovered from them have turned out to be different from what they stole.
Security sources told The Cable said they have established that Chadian citizens are serving as foot soldiers for Boko Haram, which most recently made its biggest gain on the Nigerian territory since the insurgency began in 2009.
A retired diplomat told The Cable, if Chadian links are verified, “then we have a potentially dangerous development in our hands. It could be a copycat scenario, considering how Muammar Ghaddafi destabilised West Africa as Libyan leader. Déby was very close to Ghaddafi and he may be copying his style.”
Another senior intelligence officer told The Cable that the federal government is “seriously studying” possible links between Chad and Boko Haram.
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It would be recalled that the Federal Government and Boko Haram were believed to have reached a ceasefire agreement on October 17 in Chad. However the attacks continued and soon the sect leader Abubakar Shekau released two videos debunking the fact of deal existence.
Also, yesterday, a close political associate of Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno, Mahamat Bichara Gnoti was arrested as he tried to transfer missiles he purchased from the Sudanese army meant for Boko Haram.
Read more details on The Cable