Dozens of Chadian tanks headed out of the capital Friday south towards Cameroon to help fight Nigeria’s dreaded Boko Haram insurgents. They are believed to be eventually heading to Baga, the town on the shores of Lake Chad were as many as 2,000 people were massacred by the militants in a raid on January 7 described by US Secretary of State John Kerry as a “crime against humanity”.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya had announced Thursday that his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby had agreed to send “a substantial contingent” of troops to help Cameroonian armed forces, who have faced repeated attacks from Boko Haram. The Russian ambassador to the country also pledged to supply Cameroon with more modern weapons to combat the extremists.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama said, “We cannot stand by silently, idly waiting for the international community to intervene on our behalf, not when our brothers and sisters are being butchered and burnt in their homes and on the streets of their villages and towns.” The deployment of Chadian tanks came as the head of the West African ECOWAS bloc called for tougher action against Boko Haram, floating the possibility of a special African Union summit on “a plan of action to deal permanently with the issue of terror on our continent”.