Wanted Multi-National Effort to End Transnational Terrorism
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Violent crimes such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorism is not what afflicts Nigeria alone.
Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroun, who are our neighbouring countries, are also battling the terrorist elements loyal to the two ‘jihadist’ sects.
Like what regularly happens in our clime, fighters of Boko Haram and ISWAP have severally launched attacks on security forces and innocent civilians in Cameroun, Chad, Mali and Niger, maiming hundreds of thousands of lives, in the process.
Since early 2015, attacks in Chad by Boko Haram, have killed hundreds, displaced more than 100,000 and damaged the regional economy of the Lake Chad basin, a report says.
The violence Boko Haram unleashed, has also led to over 100,000 displaced and 7,000 refugees on Chadian territory by the beginning of 2017.
Statistics indicate that the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced nearly 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad Basin.
A UNHCR report said that, “Although the Nigerian military has regained control in parts of the country’s north-east, civilians in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger continue to be affected by grave violations of human rights, widespread sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment and suicide bombings.”
In another part of its report, the UNHCR pointed out that since violent attacks of the Islamist group Boko Haram started to spill over Nigeria’s north-eastern frontier in 2014, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have been drawn into what has become a devastating regional conflict.
Like Nigeria, the Governments of Niger, Chad, and Cameroun, have launched strategic military operations to tackle these extremists.
Beyond the efforts of these countries, a multi-national joint military cooperation, targeted at obliterating terrorist group, also exist. But victory against the criminals is far from been won.
Amid the prevailing insecurity in Nigeria, West Africa and the Sahel region, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Gen. Lucky Irabor, is assiduously advocating concerted efforts to tackle the unabating wave of transnational terrorism.
He recently called for concerted efforts of stakeholders in combating transnational terrorism in the West African Sub-region.
The CDS made the disclosure while granting audience to the Inspector-General of the Senegalese Armed Forces (SAF), Major General El hadji Daouda Niang, in his office at the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, in Abuja.
The CDS stated that transnational nature of global insurgency and terrorism required collective efforts by armed forces to restrain the movement of criminal elements operating within the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin.
Gen Irabor further explained that the collaboration would significantly restore peace in the West African sub-region.
He commended the SAF for playing a pivotal role in curtailing the trans-Sahelian movements of criminal elements in Mali.
Gen Irabor disclosed that Nigeria and Senegal could strengthen the existing diplomatic and defence collaboration by leveraging their Armed Forces operational and training experiences for greater effectiveness and efficiency.
Earlier, the Inspector General General of the Senegalese Armed Forces, Major General El hadji Daouda Niang, said the purpose of his visit was to access the operational engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
The Inspector-General expressed the commitment of the SAF to work closely with the Nigerian military for mutual benefits.
Maj Gen Niang, while showered encomium on the AFN for its past exploits in global and regional peace support operations.
He revealed that the collaboration between both armed forces would further strengthen their fight against insurgency, terrorism and other forms of insecurity bedeviling the West African sub-region.
The parley between Gen. Irabor and Gen. Niang only serves as the springboard needed to kickstart the discussion on the imperative of tackling transnational terrorism, via the instrument of collaboration among the armed forces of Sahel and West African countries.
For peace to be restored in the West African sub-region, and the movement of criminal elements operating within the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin checked, the concerted efforts underscored by CDS Irabor, must be seen practically. Not just in mere statements.
Mahmud Abdulsalam, Assistant Editor PRNigeria
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