A presidential aide has assured Nigerians that there is no cause for concern over the withdrawal of 1,200 Chadian troops from North-east Nigeria.
French newswire, AFP, quoted a Chadian Military spokesperson, Azem Bermandoa saying “It’s our troops who went to aid Nigerian soldiers months ago returning home. They have finished their mission, none of our soldiers remains in Nigeria.”
A spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday morning, told PREMIUM TIMES that the withdrawal was a result of a change in the concept and the mandate of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He also disclosed that ”Indications from the defence headquarters suggest that “soon, Nigeria will be sending troops to that country (Chad) as part of yet another concept.”
Mr Shehu asked Nigerians not to have any doubt in the ability of the Nigerian armed forces to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists. He said they are capable and have proven to be so.
”Nigerians need not worry at all about the Chadian withdrawals,” he said, ”They came here as a part of a concept of the ongoing operations by the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF.
”That concept has changed and they are moving out. Indications from the defence headquarters suggest that soon, Nigeria will be sending troops to that country as part of yet another concept.
”So there is nothing of concern about the way deployments are made by the MNJTF. They know what they are doing. It is in the execution of their mandate.
“Nigerians should equally not have any doubts about the ability of our armed forces to hold their own. They are capable and have proven to be so.”
The MNJTF is a multinational formation, comprising troops, mostly military, from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. It is headquartered in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, and is mandated to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Boko Haram insurgency has caused over 30,000 deaths in Nigeria since 2009. The terrorists, who have since split into factions, also carry out operations in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.