22 May 2014

West Africa: Cameroon, Chad Team Up to Combat Boko Haram

Photo: Claire Soares/IRIN
Chadian soldiers

Yaounde — The presidents of Cameroon and Chad met Thursday to map out ways to combat the Islamist group Boko Haram, which has extended its violence from Nigeria to its neighbors.

Presidents Paul Biya and Idriss Deby were also to examine security reports that some weapons used by Boko Haram came from Libya through Chad.

The two leaders said they were meeting to fine-tune plans and reiterate the commitments they made in Paris on May 17 to wage war against Boko Haram.

Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesperson for Cameroon's military, says the two governments were committed more than ever to fight Boko Haram alongside Nigerian forces.

"We can not be indifferent when our brothers and sisters live in permanent fear from those who have taken upon themselves to use violence on everyone instead of a spiritual rearmament they claim to bring," he said.

Nyambelle Elvis, a Chadian expert on security issues, says the presidents of Chad and Cameroon had agreed to allow their forces to cross into the territories of each country in pursuit of terrorists and armed groups.

He says there are accords that authorize security forces from the two countries to pursue "havoc wreakers" up to 30 kilometers from the border. He adds it was therefore necessary to reinforce that measure and increase mixed patrols in the border area.

Nyambelle Elvis cites intelligence reports that Boko Haram has received sophisticated weapons from the Middle East and the Maghreb through Sudan and Chad to Nigeria and Cameroon.

He said weapons also came in from Libya and that training of Boko Haram members took place in Mali when Islamist militants controlled the north of that country.

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