Chad withdraws troops from fight against Boko Haram


Chad has withdrawn hundreds of troops from
neighbouring Niger, where they were helping local
forces fight Boko Haram Islamist militants,
humanitarian sources and officials said.

The pull-out over the past two weeks could weaken a region-wide struggle against the militants who
have killed tens of thousands of people, forced
many more to flee and triggered a humanitarian
crisis.

There was no immediate explanation or comment
from defense officials in Chad.
The move came a month after the vast central
African country complained about an unexpected
U.S. travel ban imposed on its nationals.
Chad warned at the time the order could affect its
security commitments, which include its
involvement in the U.S.-backed fight against Boko
Haram.

Residents said the withdrawal had already had an
impact on Niger’s Diffa region, which has seen a
string of attacks by Boko Haram militants crossing
over from their base in neighbouring Nigeria.
Ibrahim Arimi from the border village of Bosso said banditry had increased since the Chadian troops
started leaving and he had been temporarily moved
to another village for safety.
Diffa parliamentarian Lamido Moumouni said
residents had started complaining.
“They have come to rely on the forces so there is a perception that security will be lacking,” he said by telephone.

At its peak in 2016 after an attack in Bosso, Chad
had 2,000 troops in Niger to help counter Boko
Haram although security sources said this has
fallen since.


Boko Haram has attacked Chad, Niger and
Cameroon from its base in northeast Nigeria.
Its eight-year bid to carve out an Islamist caliphate
has driven millions from their homes, no fewer than 200,000 of them are now based in Diffa, with little prospect of returning home.

Thousands of them are camped alongside an
unfinished highway in the middle of a barren
savannah with few resources.
Chad’s soldiers also occupy front-line positions in a peacekeeping force in northern Mali.
Analysts say falling oil revenues after the price
crash in 2014 has also sapped Chad’s appetite for
expensive regional security commitments.  



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