Chad’s government has made a U-turn on the pulling out of regional anti-militant fight days after the country’s President Idriss Deby made the declaration.
President Deby last week announced that his country was no longer going to take part in any anti-terrorism operations outside its territories.
Deby told his soldiers in the battle field that “This place will be our zone until Nigeria sends its troops. Stay with them for about a month. Do not let them free captured weapons or any Boko Haram (fighters).”
The pull out was to affect operations related to Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin and other militant groups in the Sahel region.
Deby said his country is withdrawing from a joint multinational task force that has been fighting terrorist group, Boko Haram for years in the region.
— Dan-Borno (@DanBorno) April 10, 2020
Re-assurance from Chad
But a government statement has now said that the Chadian army will continue to participate in joint military operations against militant jihadist groups.
The statement said those efforts will cover the region, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
According to the government Deby’s remarks were only meant to signal that the army would no longer conduct unilateral operations beyond its borders.
“It was never a question for Chad of disengaging from the (anti-Boko Haram) Multinational Joint Task Force or from the G5 Sahel joint force, much less from (MINUSMA),” the statement said.
Chad is part of the Joint Multinational Task Force, JMNTF which is made up of countries in the Lake Chad region impacted significantly by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The main members are Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon with Benin also contributing some personnel.
Chad is also part of the G5 Sahel operation to fight terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM.
The G5 in the Sahel also comprises Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.
President Deby in recent weeks visited Chadian troops in areas Boko Haram and other militants have been launching attacks against Chadian soldiers.
Boko Haram havoc
Chad destroyed five bases of the Boko Haram in response to an attack on a military base on March 23 that killed 98 Chadian soldiers.
Deby said after arriving back from his visit to the troops that “Our troops have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside Chad.”
He had already claimed victory over the terrorist group, Boko Haram saying their bases have been completely destroyed.
Since Boko Haram launched its bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria more than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced.
Boko Haram’s activities have extended beyond Nigeria to other countries within the Lake Chad Basin covering Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
These countries continue to struggle to completely defeat the terror group and often suffer deadly attacks from the group.