Friday, February 20, 2015

Chadian Forces Kill 117 Islamists in Clashes Inside Nigeria
by Daniel N'Doh NadjitanElisha Bala-Gbogbo
2:22 AM EST
February 19, 2015

(Bloomberg) -- Chadian forces killed at least 117 fighters from the Islamist militant Boko Haram group in clashes about 50 kilometers (30 miles) inside Nigeria on Tuesday, the army said.

Two Chadian soldiers died in the fighting in Dikwa, about 90 kilometers east of Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno, according to a statement by the Chadian military broadcast on state radio Wednesday in the capital, N’Djamena.

“We are involved in combined operations,” Major-General Chris Olukolade, a Nigerian military spokesman based in the capital, Abuja, said by phone. Nigeria’s air force bombed Boko Haram training and logistical camps in the northeast forest of Sambisa and in parts of the local government area of Gwoza on Thursday, Olukolade said.

Chad is intervening in bordering northeastern Nigeria to force Boko Haram out of towns it holds as part of a self-declared caliphate. Boko Haram, which roughly translates to “western education is a sin,” killed more than 4,700 people mainly in the north last year, double the number who died in 2013, according to estimates from Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

Protect Civilians

The group has extended its six-year insurgency in Africa’s top oil-producing nation to other countries in the region, including Chad, Cameroon and Niger, killing dozens of people in recent attacks on towns and villages.

While Nigeria is struggling to stop Boko Haram attacks and protect civilians, Chadian troops began an offensive last month in which it cleared rebels from the northeastern Nigerian border town of Gamboru and intervened in Cameroon.

The operation to retake Gamboru has put political pressure on the Nigerian government to “tolerate Chadian presence deeper into Nigerian territory,” Francois Conradie, a political analyst at NKC Independent Economists in Paarl, South Africa, said Thursday in an e-mailed response to questions.

“Chad’s success is something of an embarrassment to Nigeria after more than a year in which its army has been ineffectual against Boko Haram,” Conradie said. “It would have been politically impossible for the Nigerians to refuse to let the Chadians hunt Boko Haram in Nigeria.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel N’doh Nadjitan in N’Djamena at; Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at Dulue Mbachu, James Kraus

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