The Nigerian Army has refuted claims by a Chadian military officer that his officers who were occupying Nigerian territory on the fringes of Lake Chad region had been waiting to hand over.
The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, who made the denial at the weekend while briefing journalists at the Army Special Forces Super Camp, Ngamdu in Kaga council area of Borno State, added that the clarification was necessary to correct the “impression that Nigerian forces were not on ground in some areas around the Lake Chad region.”
He restated that the Nigerian and Chadian forces had been working jointly under the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) with its headquarters at N’Djamena, the Chadian capital.
According to him, the statement allegedly released in Baga-Sola, headquarters Sector 2 MNJTF Chad by a Chadian senior officer, Col. Benendona Aguna on April 9, 2020, was incorrect.
Musa said: “The Nigerian Army’s attention has been drawn to the said statement now circulating on the social media, claiming ‘the security and defence forces of Chad, who are deeply stationed in the islands of Niger and Nigeria, wanted to handover to the respective army (sic) of these friendly nations.’
“The Nigerian Army wishes to state that there is no Chadian or any foreign troops on the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad or in any other part of the Nigerian territory.
“As a responsible organisation, the Nigerian Army finds it necessary to clear the wrong impression or misinformation for history and posterity.”He added: “This is also to avoid spreading falsehood and mischievous publications.”
The spokesman said the Chadian operation on its side of the Lake was of the knowledge and support of Nigeria in line with the existing multilateral cooperation among the four countries.
He noted that the support was in honour of the extant understanding among the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries under the MNJTF.Musa added: “The operation was especially welcomed and supported by the Nigerian Army because it would deny the insurgents rear and logistics bases in Chad from where they often plan and launch attacks on Nigeria.
“It is hoped that the Chadian forces will sustain operations on their side of the border to permanently deny Boko Haram criminals of rear bases from where they can launch operations into Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chadian Operation BOMA WRATH took place only in Chadian territory not on Nigerian territory.“The Chadian security and defence forces did not cross into Nigerian territory during the operation, thus there are no Chadian troops holding any Nigerian territory.”
In a related development, Governor Babagana Zulum has warned the international community that the COVID-19 global pandemic could undermine the insurgency war in the North East.
The decade-long terrorism had devastated Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states and displaced over 7.2 million people in the region.According to the governor, “Boko Haram is equally contagious through the spread of violent ideologies and links with terror groups around the globe.”
His spokesman, Isa Gusau, at the weekend in Maiduguri stated: “Terrorism is also contagious by creating permanent fear and agonies for millions of people in insurgency-affected states. We cannot afford to be distracted.”