Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, March 23, 2015

This won't show up in Jonathan's campaign material

Will Buhari exploit the news that Nigeria is dependent on foreign troops to liberate its territory from Boko Haram?

Nigerian Army Noticeably Absent in Town Taken From Boko Haram
Boko Haram’s black flag is everywhere in the town of Damasak, deep in Islamist-held territory in northern Nigeria…

[P]ractically none of the residents are left in a once-thriving town of 200,000. They have either fled to the state capital, Maiduguri, or been killed by Boko Haram…

Mostly, the only sound in the hot, still air is from military vehicles, carrying soldiers from the neighboring countries of Chad and Niger as they make their way through the wreckage of the deadly five-month Islamist occupation of this Nigerian town…

Rather than a display of important regional cooperation in the battle against Boko Haram, the visit instead pointed out some of the confusion and resentment that are creating tension among neighbors. The soldiers from Chad and Niger had succeeded here, but there was not a single Nigerian soldier to be found. The force members were bewildered to find themselves as foreign liberators without any help from the Nigerians…

“We asked them [the Nigerians] to come, to receive this town from us, but they have not come,” said Second Lt. Mohammed Hassan, resting in the shade of the armored vehicle he had manned with his company…

Now Damasak, like much of northeastern Nigeria, is in a vacuum. Boko Haram has been chased away for now, but it is not clear that the Nigerian Army is ready to occupy and hold this and other towns.

“It is up to them to hold the town. Not us. Our role is offensive. Our mission is to chase the terrorists,” Lieutenant Hassan said. “But they are afraid,” he repeated angrily.

“Our biggest wish is that the Nigerian Army pulls itself together — that it takes responsibility in the towns,” said Mr. Mahamat, the Chadian foreign minister. “We are ready to disengage, right away.”

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