NewsWest AfricaSouth Africa-Nigeria security: guns, sadza and plantain


Posted on Monday, 02 November 2015 15:10

South Africa-Nigeria security: guns, sadza and plantain

Photos© All rights reservedOf all the grand plans minted by Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo during the golden years of the South Africa-Nigeria partnership, military cooperation has seen the least progress. On conflict resolution, the two sides rarely pull their weight together. They often divide their labour or differ fundamentally on strategy.


But a more positive pattern is emerging according to Nigeria's Kayode Fayemi. "On negotiations to end South Sudan's war, you have Abdulsalami Abubakar and Thabo Mbeki as special envoys on the same side pushing for agreement. that is really important," he says.

Big African countries, which have the economic and military means, can change conditions on the ground in ways that outside countries and agencies cannot.

Nigeria helped to restore stability in Liberia and Sierra Leone, although they almost became Abuja's fiefdoms. South Africa's operations in Lesotho turned into a tragic farce, but its DRC intervention battalion, alongside Tanzania's and Angola's, was highly successful, outshining the UN mission.

Although both countries have contributed troops to the UN and AU mission in Darfur, neither have been able to protect civilians from the Khartoum regime's escalating attacks.

Once in power, President Buhari quickly ended a clandestine cooperation deal president Jonathan's government had
with South African mercenaries to fly helicopter gunship missions against Boko Haram-held towns in north-eastern Nigeria.

Although the mercenaries claimed to have regained 90% of Boko Haram's territory, Buhari insisted that the Nigerian commanders would set up a headquarters in the region and retake full control of military operations.

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is Editor-in-Chief of The Africa Report. He has edited the political and economic insider newsletter Africa Confidential since 1992 and was associate producer on a documentary about the 2004 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea commissioned by Britain's Channel 4 television.


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