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Chad and Niger Republic beg Nigerian troops to occupy towns seized from Boko Haram

altNIGERIA faces the threat of liberated towns being re-occupied by Boko Haram insurgents after it emerged that troops are scared to enter and takeover such communities after they have been liberated by their Chadian and Nigerien counterparts.

Over recent weeks, soldiers from Chad and Niger Republic have been highly instrumental in expelling Boko Haram terrorists from numerous towns and villages across northeast Nigeria. Working under the auspices of the Multi National Joint Task Force that includes Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic and Nigeria, the regional force has driven Boko Haram out of at least 10 local government areas in the northeast.

However, the terrorists are trying to return to some of the liberated towns and Chadian and Nigerien troops are reportedly begging their Nigerian counterparts to move in and occupy the towns recaptured from the sect. They are concerned about the lack of Nigerian troops on the ground and Chadian authorities were reported angered by the near-total absence of cooperation from the Nigerians in a crucial regional battle.

Chadian soldiers were said to be wondering why they and not the Nigerians were holding towns like Damasak, several days after the last Boko Haram fighters fled or had been killed. Second Lieutenant Hassan of the Chadian Army was said to have berated the Nigerian troops as failing in their responsibilities.

Chad's foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said: “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing Boko Haram. The occupation of these towns is up to Nigeria and my fondest wish is that they assume their responsibilities.

“Our biggest wish is that the Nigerian Army pulls itself together, that it takes responsibility in the towns. We are ready to disengage, right away.”

Second Lieutenant Hassan added: “We asked the Nigerian Army to come, to receive this town from us but they have not come. It is because they are afraid.

“We fought on the night of the 14th and the last attack was on the 15th. We called them on the 16th and told them to come but they didn’t believe we were here."

He added that it is up to Nigerian troops to hold the town, not them. According to Lieutenant Hassan, the role of the Chadian army is offensive, as their sole mission is to chase out the terrorists.

Major General Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's director of defence information, said, however, that it was not true that Nigerian troops were not willing to take over such territories. He said there was no town liberated in the ongoing offensive against the insurgents that was not effectively cleared of the terrorists’ presence and was not being well patrolled.

He added that the collaborating nations had warned against irresponsible comments involving the operation, stressing that the military would not join issues with anyone. Major General Olukolade, added, however, that the Nigerian Army will do everything to sustain this collaboration.

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