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Niger, Nigeria launch military operations


07-31-2016 11:22 BJT

Military forces in Niger and Nigeria have launched separate military operations against the militant group Boko Haram. Authorities believe these operations would help in protecting their territorial integrity.

For the past 6 years, Boko Haram has been perhaps Nigeria's biggest security threat. A threat which extended to neighbouring countries like Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Now Niger has just launched a major military operation against the group. It's part of an attempt to recapture Damasak - one of Boko Haram's strongholds. Security analysts believe it's a step in the right direction.

"I think what Republic of Niger is doing is the best thing for them. Because if they don't do it now they would be the next nation to have the issue of boko haram attack attacking it," said Max Gbanite, security consultant.

"Seeing APCS is consistent with the fight against any kind of War be it insurgency or war against other nations. to see the army with long lines of personnel is consistent with what the military itself calls the column of operation."

Since February 2015, the terror group has carried out numerous deadly attacks in the eastern parts of Niger.

Hundreds of civilians and soldiers have been killed, and thousands displaced.

But just as Nigeria and it's neighbours contend with the ISIL affiliates in West Africa, another security threat intensifies in the oil rich Niger delta region.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's military is gearing up for a series of drills which they've dubbed "Operation Crocodile Smiles". It's part of a contingency plan to prevent attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, should talks with militants. fail.

"The essence of operation is to familiarise the various joint task force, the various sectors already established to deal with the issue such as defending the integrity of the Nation and not only defence of the integrity of the Nation but the integrity of the oil pipelines therefore Nigerian Army is on course in doing this," Gbanite said.

Nigeria has been laden with the responsibility of defending not only its internal security threats, but supporting the entire West African region and by extention - The African continent.

But analysts believe the country would need to review its National Defence policy, among other things, to make the country better prepared for future security challenges.   

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