Nigeria, Chad Compete to Defeat Boko Haram

When battle-hardened Chadian troops overran a Boko Haram camp in northern Nigeria last week, they wanted to press deep into territory controlled by the Islamist group but Nigeria refused to let them.

Having defeated al Qaeda in Mali two years ago, Chad’s military believes it could could finish off Boko Haram alone. It has notched up victories that have pushed the Nigerian militants back from the Cameroonian border.

But with presidential elections this month, Nigeria is keen to press ahead with its own military campaign against Boko Haram, aiming to push it out of major towns before the March 28 ballot.

In a country proud to be a major African power, it would be an embarrassment to President Goodluck Jonathan as he seeks reelection for a smaller nation to tackle Nigeria’s security problems, diplomats say.

In their forward base in the town of Gambaru on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, Chadian soldiers displayed dozens of guns seized from Boko Haram and a burnt-out armoured vehicle painted with black and white Arabic script.

“We turned back because Nigeria did not authorise us to go any further,” army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa said.

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