President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to neighbouring Cameroon tomorrow to consult with his counterpart Paul Biya on Boko Haram’s insurgency, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina has said.
“President Buhari is going to Cameroon on Wednesday. He will hold talks with President Biya on arrival and the issue of Boko Haram will be central in their discussion,” he told newsmen yesterday.
“The visit is part of the consultation on the Boko Haram insurgency. He was to have gone on the visit in June but for the invitation to Germany by the G7,” Adesina said of Buhari’s participation last month in the German-hosted summit of leading industrialised nation s— his first major international meeting as Nigerian president.
Since his inauguration on May 29, Buhari has visited Chad and Niger, two neighbouring countries jointly fighting Boko Haram along with Nigeria.
“The one-day visit to Cameroon aims to build a strong regional alliance to confront Boko Haram,” another presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said.
He declined to give details on the deployment of regional troops, but insisted it “will still be at the end of this month.”
The long-awaited Multi-National Joint Task Force, which was due to have been operational in November, has its headquarters in the Chadian capital N’Djamena.
A new commander for the 8,700-strong fighting force is expected to be named to replace its former Nigerian leader, Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, who was appointed earlier this month as chief of staff of Nigeria’s army.
Boko Haram attacks in Chad and Niger have claimed dozens of lives in the past weeks.
Heavy fighting broke out Monday between the Chadian army and Boko Haram jihadists, security and local sources said.
“Violent clashes” are under way near Baga Sola, one of the main Chadian towns in the lake that straddles Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger, a Chadian security source said.
Boko Haram had earlier this month claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in N’Djamena that left 38 people dead, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.
Three days later, at least 15 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a crowded market in the Chadian capital.
Last month military top brass from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, plus a high-level military official from Benin met in Abuja to thrash out plans to take on Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency has claimed at least 15,00 lives.
Buhari, 72, is due back in Abuja on Thursday from Cameroon, Adesina said.