The Commander of the Lake Chad Basin Multi-National Task Force (MNJTF), Major General Lamidi Adeosun, has said the joint task force is exploiting the current dispute between the faction of the Boko Haram sect loyal to Abubakar Shekau and that headed by Al-Barnawi to aid its counter-terrorism operations against the insurgents.
Adeosun made the disclosure while responding to a question on how the emergence of Al-Barnawi was impacting on the military operations against Boko Haram elements in the North East and the entire Lake Chad region.
The MNJTF Commander had participated in the telephonic press conference organized by the United States Government for African Chiefs of Defense which also has in attendance, the Commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Marine Corps, General Thomas Waldhauser, the Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Lt. General Osman Noor Soubagleh and the Special Representative for the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Madeira. The telephone press conference was monitored at the US Consulate Office in Lagos.
Amosun said Al-Barnawi’s threat to launch attacks against the military after his emergence as a splinter group leader had not been a mere threat as he had been living up to that threat, but that the military had been mounting counter anti-terrorism operations to curtail him.
“He has been challenging the military within the region. We were all aware of it when it (Al-Barnawi’s group) broke out from the mainstream Shekau faction and how it was a group also recognized by some elements of ISIS,” he said, maintaining, however, that the split in Boko Haram was helping military operations. He explained, “The split is assisting the operation. The linkage between his group and Shekau has been severed and he is also isolated, which is good as he is cornered where operations are going on currently.”
The AFRICOM Commander, Gen. Waldhauser said the whole idea of the US intervening in combating terrorism in Africa was to get African solutions to African problems. He said, “In sum, part of our overall philosophy when we train with our partners is to make sure that we develop their capacity and develop their capability so that they can take these challenges on, on their own.”