France’s Army Chief Advises Nigeria On Boko Haram

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The Nigerian Federal Government has been advised by the defence minister of France to set up a military liaison committee with its neighbouring countries to better coordinate their response to the growing regional threat posed by the Boko Haram sect.

According to Reuters report, Boko Haram insurgents have stepped up their attacks across much of Nigeria’s northeast in the past year, raiding villages, kidnapping children and seizing territory for their declared caliphate.

The sect operations have increasingly spilled over Nigeria’s borders into Niger to the north and Cameroon to the east, and has left Chad fearing it could also be dragged into the conflict.

Last May in Paris, the leaders of all four countries agreed to work together more closely, but despite the promises there appears to have been little tangible coordination between Abuja and neighbouring governments.

“There is a serious threat to the integrity of Nigeria and for its neighbours be it Cameroon, Niger or Chad,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters on Monday at an Africa security forum in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

“For this reason, we’d like to see a military liaison committee set up between the authorities of these four countries to help coordinate their action and their capacity to respond,” he said.

Le Drian added that France was ready to provide several officers to help those efforts.

The four countries, whose borders meet at Lake Chad, an area that has become a Boko Haram stronghold, pledged in July to mobilise a joint force of 2,800 soldiers to tackle the group.

That force has yet to be put in place, and while the countries have collaborated at times, observers criticise a lack of cohesion in the effort to defeat the insurgents.

“The action should be proportional with the magnitude of what’s at stake,” the United Nations special envoy to the Sahel region Hiroute Gebre Selassie told Reuters.

“There are efforts, but there is nothing that suggests to me that the magnitude of (the problem) is reducing. On the contrary.”

The Boko Haram insurgents have been blamed for the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians since 2009.

It would be recalled that Jonathan in his acceptance speech delivered after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, said that the situation with security was improving in the country, which development he characterized as “encouraging”.

Earlier this year, during the Easter church service, GEJ said that Nigerians would soon witness the end of Boko Haram activities mostly affecting the North-East.

Meanwhile in a recent letter to President Jonathan a commanding officer from the troubled region explained that several troubling issues in the army hindered the fight against Boko Haram.

According to him, those hindrances were corruption, maladministration, lack of resources and troops motivation.

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