(AFP) N’Djamena – Seventy-one Chadian soldiers have been killed and 416 wounded in less than three months of fighting in the regional campaign to crush the Boko Haram insurgency, Chad’s army said Friday. Chad has sent about 5,000 troops to fight alongside soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon against the Islamist radicals whose Nigeria-based insurgency has increasingly spilled over into neighbouring nations.
The regional fightback, concentrated in border areas south of Lake Chad and in northeast Nigeria, seems to have stopped the militants’ advance for now. Chad army chief General Brahim Seid told reporters in his country’s capital N’Djamena the “valiant soldiers” had died since February 3 in the “just and noble cause of bringing peace and security” to the region.
“They (troops) have liberated 11 communities in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria from the hands of Boko Haram,” said Seid. “Chadian forces will continue to hunt the terrorists of Boko Haram wherever they are found.”
The stepped-up efforts against Boko Haram came after the Nigerian army was repeatedly criticised as ill-equipped and ineffective against the jihadists. Nigeria’s military — with major backing from its neighbours — has since claimed huge victories over Boko Haram in the northeast, retaking a series of towns and villages previously under rebel control over the last two months. LEARN MORE ….