By Stephen Ubanna
Not many people were surprised that Mahamat Deby Itno, a 37 year–old, Lt General from the neighbouring West African country of Tchad Republic and Chairman of the country’s Transitional Military Council, TMC, was in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Friday, May 14, 2021.
The TCadian army General may have come to Abuja, Capital of Nigeria, to discuss the country’s Transition process and the on-going fight against the Islamic Fundamental Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West Afica, ISWAP insurgents at the Lake Chad Basin.
Lt.General Mahamat, the Tchadian Chairman of the TMC, midwifing the country’s return to Democracy had Come to Nigeria barely one month he came to power after the death of his father, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, the former President. He had died due to bullet wound sustained in a gun battle with the rebels , armed with stolen weapons from the neighbouring north African of country of Libya in April 2021.
Prior to the TChadian General visit to his Nigerian Counterpart,there was the initial fear making the rounds in both official and unofficial circles that the new TChadian Leader might be forced by his Contemporaries and close military allies in the TC, to abandon the country’s role ‘’ in helping Nigerian out in the anti-Jihadist war in the north east Geo-political region and face the security challenges of his country squarely’’.
Many believe, however, both for the Collaboration between President Muhammudu Buhari, a retired Army General and the Late Mrshall Itno, the former TChadian President, the rebels from the northern part of the country would have penetrated the ranks of the Insurgents in the north east states of Borno and Yobe, particular, to escalate the crisis in the region.
The TChadian Leader may have gladdened the heart of the Katsina state born Nigerian President when he assured him that he would ‘’continue the Collaboration’’ with the Nigerian governmnt started by the late Marshal Itno. He did not stop there. He had said that he will ‘’remain steadfast’’ in defending Nigeria’’, pleading with the Nigerian President ‘’not hesitate in helping the country also in areas it may deem necessary’’.
The General’s appeal may have informed why tBuhari had given his words ‘’to help strengthen the Lake TChad Basin Commission, LCBC, and the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, set up by Nigeria, Niger, TChad and Cameroon, the four countries had been under the siege of the insurgents for years.
The Commander In –Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces have every reason to draw the new TChadian Leader closer to avoid giving room to the Libya armed rebels in the northern part of the country to infiltrate the ranks of the BokoHaram and IWAP insurgents through the Lake TChad region.
Until his death, Marshal Ino’s reaction in dealing with the north east based insurgents in Nigeria was primarily the use of force both in the Lake TChad region and interventions in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, despite being a poor country. He was reported to have effectively contained the activities of the BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents between 2017 and 2019.
The insecurity situation in the Western part of the West African country may have grown from bad to worse between 1919 and now, that the TChadian that late Derby have no option but to apply maximum force on the insurgents who regularly ambush soldiers and attack military bases in Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria.
Between 2009 and now, it is estimated that over 36,000 people have been killed in Adamawa, Bono, Yobe states, by the insurgents . It was also reported that over two million people are in various Internally Displaced People, IDP’S Camps, in the three north east states and about eight million other people receiving Humanitaran Assistance in the region while no fewer than forty thousand people were said to crossed over to Niger, TChad and Cameroon and staying in different Refuge Camps in these countries.
Given the lack of medical facilities in the IDP Camps in Borno and Yobe , particular, the Medicins Sans Frontieres, MSF, a Humanitarian Organisation, according informed sources are currently providing lifesaving medical care in its permanent Facilities in Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state, Gwoza, Pulka and through its mobile teams in Rann and the fishing town of Bama.
A security expert disclosed that okoHaram and ISWAP , Groups, had taken advantage of the Geography of the Lake Chad region which is a magnet for Immigrants from all over the Sahel region ‘’ to control its resources, thus seek refuge in its numerous Islands. The security source told the Magazine that therewill be an intensified fight against the insurgents in TChad if power is returned to a Constitutionally elected government in the country in the next 18 months.
It is not surprising why the TChadian strong man has expected his late father’s political ally, Buhari, to throw his weight behind him to ‘’ensure a smooth transition in the country as promised the people had agreed to do so’’. ‘’We are ready to be guided by you in our journey to Constitutional rule to avoid throwing the Sahel country into chaos’’, he had said.
. Political analysts believe that if his Mahamat and his Colleagues in the TMC, could keep to their promise, and deemphasize that the Nigerian soldiers are not in the count-insurgency war in the north east or not fighting like them to bring to an end the over one decade war in the north east, the war will be over and would stop further spread to TChad, Niger and Cameroon.