Republic of Chad, a member of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), has issued Nigeria and Niger Republic an April 22 ultimatum to reoccupy territories Chadian troops seized from Boko Haram because it will withdraw its forces from those locations by that date.
President of Chad Idriss Deby said he had warned the two countries that his forces would move out of the bases seized from the jihadists by April 22, regardless of whether their armed forces moved in or not.
Speaking in an interview, Derby said his troops deployed to fight jihadists in the Lake Chad region and the Sahel will no longer take part in military operations outside national borders.
“Our troops have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside Chad,” he told national TV in Arabic. His remarks were broadcast in French on Friday.
The Chadian president’s position depicted widening cracks in the coalition, which he said was the outcome of poor commitment to the war against insurgency by other coalition partners.
Derby had led his troops in a counterattack that decimated about 1,000 Boko Haram fighters, prompting the leader of the terror group, Abubakar Shakau, to appeal to his fighters not to be deterred by the onslaught against them by the Chadian troops. Chadian armed forces said they had wound up the operation against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, saying 52 soldiers have been lost and a thousand jihadists killed.
The operation was launched after 98 Chadian soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram raid on a base at Bohoma in the lake’s marshlands on March 23, the biggest one-day military loss in the country’s history.
The four countries bordering the lake – Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon – and Benin Republic had in 2015 set up the military coalition, MNJTF, to fight Boko Haram. But Chad, which has some of the strongest armed forces in the Sahel, showed frustration with the MNJTF following the Bohoma losses.
“Chad is alone in shouldering all the burden of the war against Boko Haram,” Idris publicly complained last weekend.
In announcing the end of the offensive on Thursday, the army said its troops had expelled jihadists from Chadian soil and had advanced deep into Niger and Nigeria. Derby said he had warned those countries that his forces would move out of bases seized there from the jihadists by April 22, whether their armed forces moved in or not.
Army spokesman, Colonel Azem Bermendoa Agouna, said that 52 troops died during the operation, which was launched on March 31. “A thousand terrorists have been killed, 50 motorised canoes have been destroyed,” Agouna said, referring to a large boat also called a pirogue.
Agouna said the operation, which was launched after nearly 100 soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram attack last month, ended on Wednesday after the armed fighters were forced out of Chad.
It was the first official snapshot of the outcome of Operation Bohoma Anger, launched after about 98 soldiers were killed on March 23 in the deadliest-ever attack by Boko Haram on the country’s military forces. The armed group had mounted a seven-hour assault on a Chadian army base at Bohoma.
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