ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Benin Republic has concluded plans to send troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in support of the member-countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) operations against the Boko Haram Terrorists in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
This was the outcome of the meeting with Commander MNJTF, Maj-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, who was at the country in continuation of his visits to political authorities and military hierarchies of the member-states of the regional force for consultation.
The Chief Military Public Information Officer, MNJTF, Col. Muhammad Dole, in a statement on Monday, said that Adeosun was in Benin Republic where he met with the country’s Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Dole said the visit was a follow-up to the final operational visit to troops deployed in all the Sectors and Sub-sector, where he assessed their immediate logistics and operational requirements in the field.
He said that the Commander conferred with the Beninnoise Minister of Defence, Mr. Yarou Robert Theophile, and briefed him on operational status of the MNJTF and arrangement made for the provision of living and offices accommodation for the Benin contingent.
The Commander, he said, added that the MNJTF and all the Sectors are fully operational; hence the need for deployment of Benin troops in the theatre of operation.
According to him, “the Benin contingent are expected to perform garrison duties, provision of escort and security to humanitarian operations, protection of Very Important Personalities (VIP) and serve as reserve force for quick intervention when necessary”.
The minister, Dole said, assured the Commander of his government’s commitment to deploy its pledged troops for MNJTF operation. He said that, the initial delay was due to some logistics and equipment challenges, which were recently provided.
“The first batch of 150 military personnel will be deployed in Ndjamena, HQ MNJTF before the end of April 2016
“While the remaining batches will be airlifted subsequently to meet up with 750 troops expected from Benin Republic. The Minister commended the effort of the member states of MNJTF for pulling resources to fight the menace of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region,” he quoted the minister.
In the same vein, he quoted the Beninoise CDS, Brig-Gen. Awal Bouko Nagnimi, to have informed the Commander that the earmarked battalion had undergone specialised counter-terrorism and insurgency training.
The CDS, Dole stated, said that, unlike other member-states of the MNJTF, Benin would deploy its troops in another country, therefore a lot of logistic and equipment are required to be provided for the troops before their deployment.
“However, he said the troops are combat ready and in high morale to be inducted into the theatre of operation. An advance party is expected to visit Ndjamena before the movement of the troops to their location next month,” he added.
In a related development, troops of 254 Task Force Battalion, 25 Task Force Brigade in conjunction with vigilantes have conducted clearance operation of remnants of BHT at Gwashari village along Damboa-Bale road.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, stated that the troops, during the patrol, encountered some elements of the BHT in which they killed one and captured three others.
Usman said the troops also recovered a dane gun, AK-47 rifle magazine, two knives, assorted drugs and the sum of N142,000 from the terrorists.