The death of Chad President Idriss Deby on Tuesday is bad for the Nigerian Army in the Lake Chad area, as the Boko Haram insurgents now have a larger stronghold to launch more violent attacks on military troops and bases, according to a report by the SB Morgen Intelligence.
The SB Intel report released on Tuesday added that the security situation already in Damasak and Dikwa, two Borno towns close to the Chadian border, is dangerous at the moment and has forced humanitarian agencies and workers to flee the towns, making them more vulnerable.
The African-focused research firm, in its April 2021 report, stated that the Nigerian military now has a lot more work to do in the Multi-National Joint Task Force monitoring the Lake Chad region, which despite consisting of four countries, has Nigeria and Chad as the only active combatants.
The SB Intel report obtained by SaharaReporters said, “Geographically, Chad is at the heart of a number of conflicts in West and Central Africa. To its west, Déby had been a key ally for Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram. The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) operation which was supposed to include cooperation with Niger, Cameroon and Chad, ended up being a largely Nigerian operation with input from only the Chadian army.
“Chadian forces were largely restricted within the country’s borders, with the bulk of the fighting in Lake Chad done by the Nigerian military. For Nigeria, Déby’s death is not good news as the battle-hardened Chadian Army has been the only effective check on Boko Haram. While his son, Mahamat Déby Itno is at the moment the de-facto head of the military council, there is no clear successor to Mr Déby as he was effectively the state.
“The 37-year old Mahamat Déby has been a military brat all his life and has limited administrative or political experience. A succession battle, which is almost certain, would mean that the insurgents will have no worries about their flanks and can attack the Nigerian Army at will.
“This will likely mean the consolidation of the Lake Chad Basin as a staging area for the insurgents from where to launch attacks on towns and military bases. Already, the security situation in Damasak and Dikwa, Nigerian towns close to the Chadian border, has become untenable, forcing UN staff to suspend humanitarian operations.”
The report said the passing away of Deby leaves a “big gap” in Nigeria, a neighbouring country that is likely to have a profound impact on its security.
“This opens a brand new challenge - Nigeria either steps up in the region and ensures peace both within its borders and in this huge arc of instability, or the strip of relative stability in Southern Nigeria will be engulfed by the collapse of our near abroad.
“The growing external instability around Nigeria will soon become existential, and based on precedents, Deby’s passing would be blamed (by the Nigerian government) on any reversal of progress in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East It must be treated with the urgency it deserves,” it added.