Nigeria Says Its Sovereignty Is Intact
Nigeria’s military has drawn fierce criticism for failing to rein in the insurgents, who have stepped up their campaign of terror in the northeast in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections on February 14.
Viewing the widening field of Boko Haram activity a direct threat to its national interests, Chad has deployed its war-tested army to join the fight against the extremists, and has reportedly now entered Nigeria in at least two places.
N’Djamena has not yet officially confirmed its troop movement into Niger, but it is now thought Chad may be positioning its forces to be able to trap Boko Haram in pincer offensives launched simultaneously from the north and south.
In Gamboru, the offensive, which was preceded by days of Chadian air strikes, had left scenes of desolation, with bodies lying on the ground, houses destroyed, shops gutted and trucks charred.
“We have routed this band of terrorists,” the commander of the Chadian contingent Ahmat Dari told AFP Tuesday, vowing to “hunt them down everywhere.”
Nigeria reacted defensively to the presence of foreign troops on its soil.
“Nigeria’s territorial integrity remains intact,” defence spokesman Chris Olukolade insisted, saying national forces had “planned and are driving the present onslaught against terrorists from all fronts in Nigeria, not the Chadian forces”.
France, meanwhile, is supporting the operations by carrying out reconnaissance flights over border areas of Chad and Cameroon to provide them with intelligence.
At least 13,000 people have been killed and more than a million forced from their homes since Boko Haram launched an insurgency in 2009.