Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory claims, Boko Haram is still holding territory in northern Nigeria, said the head of the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM).
Gen. David Rodriguez’s assertion comes almost two months after Buhari told the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, that the terrorist group was no longer “holding any territory as we speak.”
Speaking on Tuesday (9 Mar.) before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Rodriguez said: “Boko Haram does hold some significant territory in northern Nigeria, as do Al-Shabaab in limited areas of Somalia.”
The current offensive against Boko Haram, led by the Nigerian military in partnership with Chad, Cameroon, and Niger under the Multinational National Joint Task Force (MNTJF), has routed the group from territories it controlled and significantly degraded its capabilities.
Late last month the Nigerian government announced the re-opening of major roads in Borno State, closed for three years, and encouraged people in the northeast who fled Boko Haram attacks to return to their homes, despite concerns over the safety of some of the more remote rural areas.
Gen. Rodriguez praised MNJTF allies and partners such as the African Union, France, UK, EU and U.S. Department of State for engaging in the counter-Boko Haram effort.
“Our engagement now can assist our African partners in realising their potential and gaining the capability to solve African problems,” Gen. Rodriguez said. “African solutions to African problems are, in the long run, in the best interest of Africans, Americans, and indeed the world.”
The US has deployed 300 forces to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in Cameroon, and has pledged to support Nigeria via security assistance programmes, including the new Security Governance Initiative, the Global Security Contingency Fund, and the Counter-Terrorism Partnership Fund.
The US has recently provided communications gear and equipment to Nigeria, including a recent delivery of 24 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.
Source: Premium Times