Saturday, June 13, 2015

Boko Haram Under Pressure as Nigeria Forges New Military Alliance

Nigeria and its neighbours agreed on Thursday to set up a joint military force to counter Boko Haram, a sign of President Muhammadu Buhari's intent to crush the Islamist militant group early in his tenure.

At a one-day summit at Abuja airport, the 72-year-old former military ruler, who was inaugurated just two weeks ago, welcomed the leaders of Chad and Niger, and the defence minister of Cameroon.

A statement afterwards said the joint force, based in the Chad capital Ndjamena, would be up and running by July 30 with a permanent Nigerian leader, a concession to Buhari's opposition to rotating commanders.

Changing the force's leadership would hamper "the military capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents, who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and rejig their operational strategies", Buhari said before the meeting.

Chad and Cameroon have deputy commander and chief of staff posts in the force, whose mission is to crush Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and displaced 1.5 million people in its six-year fight to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria's northeast.

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