The African Union has renewed the mandate of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for another 12 months to continue fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in West Africa.
The MNJTF, headquarter in N’Damena, Chad, is a combined multinational formation, comprising units, mostly military, from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
In January 2015, after an increase in Boko Haram terror attacks in the region, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decided to support the efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) member states and Benin through an authorization of the deployment of the MNJTF. Thus, the MNJTF was remodeled and re-operationalized with an increased capacity of about 10 000 troops and its new Headquarters located in N’Djamena.
The Force started operations on 30 July 2015 with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria as troop contributing countries. The AUPSC at its 1057th virtual meeting held on 14 January decided to renew its mandates for another period of 12 months with effect from 1 February 2022.
During the meeting, the Council noted with appreciation and commended the significant recorded progress and display of commitment by the Force in fighting the insurgents, the MNJTF said in a statement.
“They applauded the dedication and determination of the troops towards degrading the operational capability of the BHT [Boko Haram Terrorists]/ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa] terrorists in the region. The Council equally paid tribute to the soldiers and civilians that have paid the ultimate price and expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and governments of those that have lost their lives in the course of fight against terror.”
The MNJTF was created to “create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, in order to significantly reduce violence against civilians and other abuses.”
The MNJTF continues to battle terrorists in the region, and in December killed 22 Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents in the Lake Chad region, for the loss of six MNJTF soldiers. MNJTF troops met strong resistance from the terrorists, who launched several mortar attacks, laid Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along the route of advance and further attacks with Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs), a spokesperson said at the time. Five gun trucks were destroyed, weapons and equipment recovered and 17 suspects arrested.