first_imgBoko Haram militantsNigeria has named a general to lead the new multinational task force to fight militant Islamist group Boko Haram.Major General Iliya Abbah, who previously led operations against militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta, will head the force according to  Nigeria’s military spokesman Colonel Sani Usman Kukasheka.The Multi-National Joint Task Force, made up of 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, is expected to be more effective than a current alliance in the battle to end Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency, which has claimed some 15,000 lives.The announcement came as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was in Cameroon for talks on how to combat the escalating threat from Boko Haram, whose fighters have been waging an increasing number of murderous cross-border raids and suicide bombings.“We recognise that none of us can succeed alone,” he said at a state dinner in Yaounde on Wednesday, according to a presidency statement.“In order to win this war we need the collective efforts of each one of us, standing together as a formidable force for good, to defeat and end these acts of terror against our people.”A boosted force with 8,700 troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria is expected to become fully operational at least by next week.The multinational troops fighting Boko Haram in West Africa will be able to pursue the militants across borders according to Nigeria’s presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.He says there was now trust between those contributing troops since the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in May.Meanwhile, Chad said on Thursday its forces had killed 117 Boko Haram insurgents during a two-week military campaign aimed at clearing islands on Lake Chad used by the militants as hideouts and bases to launch attacks.Chad has deployed thousands of soldiers alongside troops from neighborsNigeria, Cameroon and Niger to tackle the militant group whose six-year insurgency has killed thousands. “We killed 117 Boko Haram fighters during the two-week operation.We lost two men and several wounded,” Colonel Azem Bermandoa, spokesman for the Chadian army, said.Chad’s parliament was to vote Thursday on a controversial anti-terror bill after a string of deadly Boko Haram attacks, raising fears among opponents and rights activists that the law may be used to curtail freedoms.last_img

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