The rising collaboration between the Daesh and Boko Haram terrorist groups has raised alarms that the two are working together to wreak more havoc in northern and central Africa. US Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, the commander of the US military’s Special Operations in Africa, said Wednesday that a Daesh weapons convoy departing from Libya was intercepted on its way to the Lake Chad region, an area devastated by Boko Haram.
The shipment was seized near the Chadian border with Libya on April 7 and included small-caliber weapons, machine guns and rifles, officials said. US military officials said the convoy hints at a direct link between the two terror groups. Last year, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Daesh.
Bolduc added that the two groups were also sharing “tactics, techniques and procedures.” Nigerian General Lamidi Oyebayo Adeosun, the commander of the regional group of African countries fighting Boko Haram in the Lake Chad area, echoed Bolduc, adding military officials were still trying to learn more about relations between the two groups.
The disclosure came during a tense series of meetings between Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, and top Chadian officials, including President Idriss Deby. US President Barack Obama has been increasingly asked by some of his top military and intelligence advisers to authorize a broader US military presence in Libya and Nigeria.
Earlier this month, Obama admitted that his “worst mistake” in his presidency has been the mishandling of the crisis in Libya after the US-backed ouster of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Pentagon has proposed a $200 million budget for this year to train and equip security forces in north, central and west African countries. The US is also constructing a $50 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, that would allow aerial surveillance of the region.
An estimated 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million others made homeless since the beginning of the Boko Haram bloody militancy in Nigeria in 2009. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has spread its attacks from northeastern Nigeria, its traditional stronghold, to the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.