Boko Haram: Nigeria, Camerounian Forces Agree On Cross-Border Military Operations

In a marked departure from the hostile attitudes exhibited by the two countries towards resolving their common security challenges, Nigeria and Cameroun have agreed that member states could conduct military operations around common borders in order to rout out Haram terrorists.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, stated this yesterday during the inaugural  Coordinating Conference Cameroun-Nigeria Trans-Border Military Operations, at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) headquarters in Abuja.

Badeh said the conference was conceived and organised as part of the ongoing efforts at engaging relevant stakeholders in a collective resolve to address the challenges of terrorism and other acts of criminality, which the two countries in particular and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries in general are currently being confronted with.

According to the CDS, the new rapprochement was the direct outcome of the series of meetings held in Paris, France; Yaounde, Cameroun and Niamey, Niger Republic, aimed at articulating a common approach towards addressing the threats posed by Haram in the North-eastern part of Nigeria and Northern Cameroun as well as the Lake Chad Basin.

Specifically, he reminded that the Yaounde meeting highlighted the need to enhance the fight against terrorism by operationalising the LBC Multi-National Task Force (MNTF); and at a follow up meeting in Niamey in July this year, the Ministers of Defence, CDS and Head of Intelligence Services of member states and Republic reached some far-reaching decisions as part of the overall efforts to contain terrorism in the sub-region.

At that meeting, Badeh said, “we all agreed to among other things, conduct at the bilateral level, coordinated patrols along our common border to crack down on Haram, locate and save all abducted persons.

In addition, he noted, “We agreed to set up an information sharing mechanism to support our joint operations against terrorist, as well as the importance of setting up an information sharing mechanism on gun smuggling and strengthen measures to protect all military hardware and armouries in our two countries.”

Speaking further, the Nigerian defence chief said all the stated measures were approved by the Heads of State and Government of the LCBC member countries and the Republic of Benin in their Extra-ordinary Summit on October 7 in Niamey.

He stated that among other things, the Heads of State and× Government at the summit agreed on the need for a synergy in the fight against terrorism in the sub-region, and directed the military leaders to develop a common strategy, in order to ensure a co-ordinated response by all member nations, at the bilateral and mulit-lateral levels, towards confronting common security challenges.

Additionally, CDS said the LCBC governments directed member states, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence to meet immediately to draft a common resolution to the United Nations Security Council and the Union in order to put in place an appropriate legal framework for cross-border military operations against Boko Haram.

He said: “I am pleased to note that the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence held in Abuja two days ago...agreed that member states could conduct operations around our common borders even as the draft resolution for the legal framework is being worked out.

“In addition, the ministers agreed to operationalise the Multinational Task Force, which is to be headed by a Chief Staff by November 20. It is on this basis therefore that I have agreed to host this conference so that we can develop a common strategy as we confront Boko Haram within our respective countries and along our common borders.

“While the resolution is being drafted, it is imperative that we work out and agree on the operational details that will guide the conduct of our troops as we jointly conduct operations against terrorists,” he urged.

Speaking to reporters, a top intelligence officer said the new cooperation was a historic one buoyed by the series of victories recorded by Nigerian against Boko Haram terrorists, especially with the killing of the Abubakar Shekau or his impostor.

The source reminded that Cameroun has come to the realisation that it stands more to lose by not cooperating with Nigeria, “having previously adopted a hostile policy, directing its officers and security personnel not to cooperate with us”.

The recent gains were also acknowledged by Badeh who commended the Camerounian Defence Forces for their renewed support and commitment to the fight against Boko Haram and other criminalities.

“This is clearly attested to by the recent success our two countries have recorded against Boko Haram in the past few weeks. While acknowledging and appreciating all that we have achieved so far, it is crucial that we consolidate on the gains made and to enhance the level of cooperation that currently exists between our two militaries,” he said.

Source: This Day Live
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