West Africa: How to Step Up the Fight Against Boko Haram

President Buhari's victory against Boko Haram was short-lived.
7 June 2020

Cape Town — The joint military force comprising soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria which is fighting Boko Haram insurgents has won ground but more needs to be done to make it fully effective, says a newly released 40-page report from the International Crisis Group.

In a news release to accompany the report, Richard Moncrieff, the group's Central Africa project director, said working together has enabled forces from the four nations "to learn from each other, [has] promoted the idea of cross-border cooperation and improved tactical coordination."

But, he added, "advances against Boko Haram and its offshoots have mostly been short-lived. Nimble militant factions have regrouped fast, and the MNJTF's effectiveness has suffered from confusion over priorities, the four states' reluctance to cede command to the force itself and funding and procurement delays."

He said advances against Boko Haram in the long term will mostly depend on civilian efforts to deliver public services and improve conditions for residents of the Lake Chad basin. But this will happen only if the joint force - formally entitled the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) - creates space for better civilian rule.

"Lake Chad states should boost the MNJTF's planning and communications capacity, intelligence sharing, human rights compliance and civil-military coordination," Moncrieff said. "The African Union and donors, principally the European Union, should support those steps to make the MNJTF more effective".

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