Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria to alter fight against Islamist terrorists: Instability in Africa

Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria to alter fight against Islamist terrorists: Instability in Africa

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

After the reported death of Aboubakar Shekau, the former leader of Boko Haram, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) is altering the terrorist tactics on the ground. Boko Haram is a regional menace because of past failed military policies in Nigeria and the genuine reality of mass corruption in this country. Therefore, Boko Haram killed Christians and Muslims alike in Nigeria before spreading their jihadist aspirations to regional nations.

ISWAP and Boko Haram – just like Sunni Islamists in other nations – also turn against themselves. After all, it seems that no Islamist movement is deemed brutal enough to rule by fear. Hence, the main problem for the Taliban in Afghanistan – just like the plethora of different Sunni Islamist forces in Syria – is fellow extremists from the same Sunni Muslim faith.

Military personnel from Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria met over concerns about terrorism in the Lake Chad region. All three nations acknowledge that ISWAP is weakening Boko Haram and seeking to win hearts and minds by focusing mainly on fighting the armed forces of these three nations.

Voice of America reports, “Major General Saly Mohamadou is commander of Cameroon’s troops fighting terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin. He says, unlike Boko Haram, which attacked civilians for supplies and killed both the military and people who opposed the terrorist group when it was very active, ISWAP only attacks military positions to gain support from civilians. He says ISWAP is fighting to control border areas between Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.”

The MNJTF (Multinational Joint Task Force) that comprises the armed forces of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, and Niger seeks to formulate a new strategy. This relates to the changing Islamist terrorist dynamics on the ground. At the same time, Cameroon is in discussions with the Central African Republic because of weapons reaching criminals and terrorists alike. Therefore, a complete continuous belt from Nigeria in West Africa to Ethiopia in East Africa to Libya in North Africa – with the other nations, comprising of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, South Sudan, and Sudan – all have major problems concerning either Islamist terrorism or ethnic issues.

Indeed, the chain of linkage with Egypt, Tunisia, and Islamist terrorism in Uganda shows a vast region blighted by countless issues whereby central forces are weak – or face important problems. For Egypt, this mainly concerns Islamist terrorism in the Sinai region – while for Tunisia, it is political uncertainty.

Nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria – and others – are blessed with an abundance of natural resources. However, corruption and cronyism are endemic. Hence, terrorist and ethnic nationalism is filling a void throughout a vast space of Africa.

Turning back to Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria and their concern about the Lake Chad region, it is equally important to win the hearts and minds of the populace. This relates to health care provisions, education, and job opportunities – while protecting civilians on the ground. Therefore, to defeat ISWAP and Boko Haram, all regional dynamics need to be considered alongside the military angle.

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