Nigeria Takes Towns from Boko Haram, Regional Military Exercises Foreshadow Future Fight
Nigeria claims to have regained control of territory held by Boko Haram as the group launched an assault in Cameroon, and the Chadian military began drills to ready itself for participation in a regional force created to fight the radical Islamist group.
Reuters reports that the Nigerian Army regained control of the towns of Monguno and Marte a month after the communities near Lake Chad were captured by Boko Haram as part of a larger assault against Nigerian government territory.
More than 5,000 civilians were forced to flee Monguno when Boko Haram seized the town.
Continued insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the northeast, has forced a six week delay of previously scheduled elections. The two frontrunners in the election are the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, and a former military dictator, Muhammadu Buhari.
A different Reuters report says that Boko Haram tried to attack a military outpost near the town of Waza, Cameroon. The attack ended in defeat for Boko Haram, which lost several fighters and an armored personnel carrier. Several Cameroonian soldiers were injured in the fighting.
Yet another Reuters report highlights some of the steps being taken to combat the threat from Boko Haram. The government of Chad is currently hosting US supported military exercises involving 1,300 soldiers from a variety of African and Western countries.
Named "Flintlock," the exercises are focused on counter-terrorism measures and techniques. Flintlock is an annual military training program that began in 2005. In addition to the skills gained, members of the exercises who are also participating in a regional initiative to fight Boko Haram will benefit from communications equipment that the United States plans to leave behind after the exercises are finished. The exercises will end on March 9.