Some Nigerian analysts persuasively argue with credible evidence that provincial Nigerian government officials are strong supporters of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. As France becomes more involved with the fight and taking into account the events of the past week, they might be witnessing the degradation of a key part of their constituency.
It would seem that the Charlie Hebdo murders in France have brought about a change of heart in the nation and their resolve to fight Islamic terrorism has been stiffened.
A French army official told the press that a detachment of 10 military personnel had been stationed in Diffa at the request of Niger. “It is there to coordinate the armies on the ground in the fight against Boko Haram,” the official said.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, French President Hollande said France also is providing logistical and operational support, such as delivering fuel and munitions to countries fighting Boko Haram.
To be fair about it, the French lack long range air lift capability and the US Air Force has been assisting with the relocation of French military assets to Niger under the NATO compact. I wouldn’t consider that to be a stiffening of American resolve since the President Obama still can’t bring himself to combine the words Islamic and Terrorism. (Though President Obama is strident in his criticism of barbaric acts by Christians that were committed 1000 years ago)
French tactical aircraft are also said to be involved in close air support of ground forces from Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, fighting against Boko Haram.
Roundup of the fight in northeast Nigeria against Boko Haram: A French language news service devoted to African issues published a casualty count in the fight against Boko Haram during the first four days of February.
Boko Haram: 1593 morts des deux côtés entre dimanche et jeudi(Translation: Boko Haram: Between Sunday and Thursday, 1,593 deaths on both sides.) The article said the casualty numbers were compiled from figures announced by the three armies and local sources.
Maiduguri, Nigeria: clashes in the city of Maiduguri and its outskirts led to 461 Boko Haram deaths and 52 deaths on the side of the Nigerian military and the city’s civilian defense committees.
Malamfaturi, Nigeria: 123 terrorist fighters were killed in the shelling of Malamfaturi and Gamboru, according to the Chadian military.
Gamboru, Nigeria: Chadian forces killed 200 terrorists in liberating Gamboru. Chad lost between four and nine soldiers.
Fotokol, Cameroon: The final casualty figure from the 4 February clashes at Fotokol is 397 civilians killed (throats slit, executed or killed by stray bullets); 327 Boko Haram fighters; 13 Chadian soldiers and 2 Cameroonian soldiers killed.
In all, the death toll from four days of fighting is as follows:
– Boko Haram: 1,111 combatants
– Civilians: 397 persons– Nigerian military: 52– Chadian military: 26– Cameroonian military: 7
The civilian death toll is understated. The Boko Haram numbers probably are inflated. Nevertheless, the fighting has been bloody.
Meanwhile, in the United States: