Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, declared on Tuesday, August 11, that efforts to combat the neighbouring Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists had succeeded in “decapitating” the group and would be wrapped up “by the end of the year”.
Addressing the reporters in the country’s capital, N’Djamena, on the 55th anniversary of Chad’s independence from France, he said: “Boko Haram is decapitated. There are little groups (of Boko Haram members) scattered throughout east Nigeria, on the border with Cameroon. It is within our power to definitively overcome Boko Haram.
“The war will be short, with the setting up of the regional force, it will be over by the end of the year,” Deby added, referring to a new five-country force aimed at ending Boko Haram’s bloody six-year Islamist insurgency.
Chad’s president said the multinational force would be “operational in a few days”.
Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have all pledged troops towards the new force.
Deby further informed that Boko Haram was no longer led by the fearsome Abubakar Shekau, and that his successor was open to talks.
“There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government.”
Deby, whose country has been spearheading the regional fightback against Boko Haram, said: “For my part, I would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist.”
He further spoke about the progress in the fight against the Islamist sect, who have continually struck border areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and wrought havoc in northeast Nigeria. Deby admitted that suicide bombers still posed a major threat.
It is noted that in the past few weeks, suicide bombers, have staged several attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, most of the bombers were women.
The Chadian president said that the challenge was to avoid terrorist acts.
“That’s why we must organise at the regional level to prevent bomb-making materials and other explosives entering our countries,” Deby concluded
Meanwhile, an explosion reportedly rocked the market of Sabon Gari, Damboa, Borno state, on Tuesday, August 11. At least 60 people were killed, 43 others injured in the explosion. The number of victims was not precise, as a vigilante source spoke about 20 dead and 25 injured.
However, Reuters news agency reports otherwise. Quoting a military source, they report that at least 47 people were killed and 52 people injured, with fears that the death toll may rise.