Chad will stop fighting Boko Haram outside its borders
Chadian troops will stop participating in military operations outside the country’s borders announced President Idriss Déby, following a report that 1,000 Boko Haram fighters were killed during a counter-offensive by Chad’s army on 31 March.
52 Chadian soldiers were also killed in the attack that was in response to a deadly raid by the Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram on a base at Bohoma, in the marshlands of Lake Chad, on 23 March. 98 Chadian soldiers were killed during that attack.
READ MORE: Chad: Déby seeks stability at any price
Chadian army to stop fighting Boko Haram outside its borders
In 2015, the four countries whose borders meet at Lake Chad – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, as well as the Republic of Benin – set up the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to fight the Islamist group Boko Haram.
However, Chad believes it has done most of the work, with Déby saying: “Chad is alone shouldering all the burden of the war against Boko Haram.”
As a result of the growing burden perceived by N’Djamena, Déby announced on 9 April plans to move all Chadian troops out of the seized Boko Haram bases in Niger and Nigeria by 22 April; regardless of whether the country’s own forces have moved in to occupy those bases or not.
Boko Haram threatens Chad
The killing of Boko Haram troops from the counter-offensive operation provoked a direct comment by its group leader, Abubakar Shekau, to President Déby.
“He [ Déby] came out fully dressed up with the ambition of fighting the religion of Islam,” said Shekau in a video put out by the group in Hausa.
“People of Chad, leave us alone, this operation is not approved by the Qur’an. It is not the will of Prophet Mohamed, but if you want to continue, God will help us too because He is bigger than you,” said Shekau.
He also encouraged Boko Haram troops to continue fighting, saying: “to my fighters, take heart; it is I, Abubakar Shekau, your leader.”
Bottom line: Although governments are preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, governments will need to decide how to fill the void left by the Chadian army.