How International Rivalry Fuels Boko Haram Insurgency
Intelligence reports have continued to indict a neighbouring country and another foreign government of conspiracy in the continued harassment of Nigerian towns and villages in the north eastern parts of the country by Islamists Boko Haram terrorists.
Good news however, is that Britain and the United States of America are working assiduously to counter the antics of Nigeria’s neighbours.
There are incontrovertible evidences that because of a combination of reasons including intimidation and blackmail from the Boko Haram and territorial politics between Nigeria and its French speaking neighbor, occasional non-nonchalant attitudes by the said neighbor on terrorists waging wae against Nigeria.
An intelligence officer, who doesn’t want his name in print told the Economic Confidential that the Islamists have set up camps in populated areas of the country’s north-eastern neighbours — Cameroon, Chad and Niger — and flee across the border after staging sting attacks to escape military pursuit.
It was gathered that while Nigeria and Cameroon continue to sustain their mutual and diplomatic relationship as if everything is normal, the fact is that there are suspicions over Cameroon’s reluctance to curtail the activities of Boko Haram from its territory into Nigeria.
On few instances, Nigerian fighter jets had destroyed a bridge between the two countries while pursuing the terrorists who were running for cover in Cameroonian villages at the Northern border.
Foreign security experts, who are collaborating with Nigerian intelligence in tracking the locations and movements of Boko Haram group are quite suspicious of activities of some of its neighbours.
After an attack by Nigerian troop on Boko Haram base at Limani town in Cameroonian, a leader of the militant group threatened to start attacking Cameroon. The leader, whose name was given as Imam ibn Muhammad Abubakar is reported to have written a letter to Cameroonian President Paul Biya to complain about the attacks. According to a Cameroonian daily, Camer be, the militant leader who lives outside Nigeria threatened to unleash terror on the Cameroon should it continue to lend support to the Nigerian government’s military campaign.
There are various reasons that influenced the recent decision of Nigeria to close down its borders with Cameroon. Though the military sources said it closed hundreds of miles of its north-eastern border with Cameroon to stop Islamic extremists using the country as a haven and launch pad for attacks, there is an existing mutual suspicion between the two countries.
Few weeks ago, Brig. Gen. Rogers Nicholas of the 23rd Armoured Brigade told the media that he was exercising emergency powers because it is “imperative” to seal the border between Cameroon and Nigeria’s Adamawa state against illegal crossings.
Also earlier this year, there was panic in some towns and villages of Cross River State when Cameroonian officials entered Obanliku and Obudu local government and were re-adjusting boundary lines between the two countries.
Part of the postulation according to Economic Confidential gathering was that once Nigeria continues to be actively engaged in warfare with Boko Haram in the north, it will be too weary to worry about another boarder quarrel in the south.
Nigeria customs and immigration officials were working with soldiers and police to ensure that nothing crosses into Nigeria. Large stretches of that porous border are generally left unpatrolled.
On few occasions, determined Nigerian troops and their jet bombers had to cross the border into Cameroon in pursuit of extremists who after wrecking havocs in local communities run into their bases in that country.
Meanwhile a high level meeting of top security and intelligence officers from mostly affected countries in the sub-region would hold in Abuja to share their experiences and intelligence reports on how to curtail the excesses of Boko Haram around the region.
The Economic Confidential gathered that while the French government supports diplomatic and military strategies of Cameroon, it was recently moved to support Nigeria. Concerned over the recent massacre of young students in Yobe State, the French President Francois Hollande promised to support Nigeria in the war against Boko Haram terrorism. He made the promise in a goodwill message at the International Conference hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan to mark the Nigeria’s centenary. He said that France would always be ready to help to combat extremism in the defence of democracy.
“Your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time.”
The United States and British governments have always been solidly behind Nigeria in providing massive supports in the areas of capacity building and intelligence sharing.
In fact the American government has continued to identify with Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram. The US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned the recent wave of violence and reiterated Washington’s support for the authorities in Abuja, which includes providing “counter-terrorism assistance”.
“The people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror,” Kerry said in a recent statement. He added the American government would continue to stand with the people of Northern Nigeria in their struggle against violent extremism, and remain a committed partner of the Government of Nigeria as it works to root out Boko Haram and associated groups.
Despite the state of emergency in affected states in Nigeria, Boko Haram extremists have continued to carry out attacks which are coordinated from neighbouring countries.