Nigeria Recalls Troops, Plans Serious Mission Against Boko Haram Before #FeBuhari Elections

Nigeria considers possible ‘troop surge’ to fight Boko Haram

The West African country has announced it may recall troops serving abroad to boost its campaign against the Islamic militants. The new strategy comes amid mounting criticism of the government’s failure to rein in Boko Haram.

By Paula Rogo

Jonatha_PDP_conventionNigeria has announced it may bring home its soldiers deployed abroad to help fight the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a move that could have significant security implications across Africa.

“There is a need for a ‘troops’ surge’ in operational areas, which may require recalling Nigerian troops from peace missions abroad to enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigerian army,” Mike Omeri, a government spokesman said Thursday.

The Nigerian government has come under strong criticism for its lackluster performance in containing the Boko Haram insurgency that continues to terrorize villages in the northeast of Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. Civilians in affected areas have long complained of Army negligence and charged the military with neglecting its duties, including running away instead of confronting militants.

SEE: Nigeria should recall troops serving abroad for massive mission against Boko Haram, by NewsRescue, May 13, 2013

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council condemned the Baga massacre by Boko Haam– that left as many as 2,000 people dead – in its first public condemnation of the Nigerian jihadists. The Council also urged the multinational force to push forward with a strategy.

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Baga, the town attacked by the insurgents this month, is a key military base for the Multi-National Joint Task Force that comprises troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameron. The troops are supposed to patrol the border and go after Boko Haram, but witnesses said the militants took control of the area after troops fled the town and left residents at the mercy of the attackers.

“The military has failed to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity,” said Manji Cheto of Teneo intelligence, a political risk advisory firm, to Bloomberg News. Ms. Cheto also noted a rise in vigilantes from communities that “felt let down by security forces.”