Troops from Chad have chased out Boko Haram fighters, from Nigeria border town seized by the Islamist militants, late last year, military sources stationed in neighbouring Niger said, Thursday.
Chad’s involvement in retaking the town comes as the regional military heavyweight assumes an increasingly aggressive role, in combating the militants and regional leaders weigh new options for containing the movement’s spread.
“Thursday morning, the Chadians retook Malam Fatori. There were clashes with Boko Haram that lasted over 24 hours, there were combat aircraft but we don’t know their nationality,” said a Niger army officer deployed to the adjacent region of Diffa. Another officer said Chadian troops began massing on the shores of Lake Chad last week before crossing into Nigeria, Wednesday to retake Malam Fatori.
Nigeria’s defence headquarters tweeted that Nigerian Air Force aircraft had been involved in two days of air operations over the town though it did not confirm Malam Fatori had been retaken or directly acknowledge the presence of Chadian troops.
“(Malam Fatori) is within the area of operation covered by the Multinational Joint Task Force of which Chad has always been a part,” the defence headquarters’ official Twitter account said. Chadian officials were not immediately available for comment, according to P.M.Newspaper.