Nigerian troops continued success recorded recently in the fight against terrorist group Boko Haram as fighter jets bombed the northeast town of Malam Fatori, controlled by the Islamists, the military said, Thursday.
“Malam Fatori is within the area of operation covered by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) of which Chad has always been a part,” defence spokesman Chris Olukolade told AFP in a text message.
“The Nigerian airforce has also been conducting (an) air mission there for two days now,” he added.
“It is all part of the ongoing efforts against terrorism.”
According to reports from some media agencies and witnesses, troops and airforce planes from neighbouring Chad were involved in the operation on Nigerian soil. The troops, as Olukolade’s statement suggests, are members of the MNJTF.
There was no initial word on casualties or whether Boko Haram fighters had fled the area.
Residents in the town of Bosso, which lies next to Malam Fatori but across the border in Niger, said the air assault began early on Wednesday and lasted for several hours.
“At around 8:00 am (0700 GMT) we started seeing three military jets encircling Malam Fatori and soon after (they) began dropping bombs,” said Idrissa Ari, a Bosso resident.
The Boko Haram uprising has become a regional crisis, with the four directly affected countries — Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria — agreeing to boost cooperation to contain the threat. Recent success recorded may be as a result of the renewed cooperation.
The insurgents control large parts of Nigeria’s Borno state, which shares borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, making the need for cooperation in the fight very important.