Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is planning to continue to strengthen a regional fighting force against the Boko Haram insurgency by travelling to one more neighbouring country.
Buhari visited Niger and Chad in his first week in office. The president held talks with Chad’s President Idris Deby to consolidate the achievements recorded so far in the war against Boko Haram and open more channels for collaboration between both countries.
Buari has also met with Mahamadou Issoufou, his Niger counterpart.
During the G7 summit Buhari presented a “wish list” of Nigeria to the international community with a special emphasis on countering terrorism.
Cameroon’s leader Paul Biya was noticeably absent at a summit in Abuja last week and was represented by his defence minister.
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“But on my return to Nigeria now, I will try to go to Cameroon,” President Buhari said on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Johannesburg.
The current Multi National Joint Task Force came into being after Deby sent troops to help the Cameroonian army against a wave of attacks by the terrorists.
The armies of Niger and Chad have crossed into Nigerian territory but those from Cameroon have not, in an sign of the tense relations between the neighbours.
But Buhari specified last Thursday that soldiers from the new force would not be limited in terms of movement.
The task force will be presided over by a Nigerian officer for the duration of the mission, with his deputy from Cameroon for an initial 12 months once troops are deployed from July 30.
“The most important support is intelligence. What we are looking for from the G7… is intelligence. We want help in terms of logistics,” the Nigerian president, who made the fight against Boko Haram his prority, said.
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“Boko Haram declared that they are in alliance with ISIS, so terrorism has gone international. They are in Mali, they are in Nigeria, they are in Syria, they are in Iraq, they are in Yemen… It’s an international problem now,” he said.