Nigeria has announced it may bring home its soldiers deployed abroad to help fight the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a move that could have significant security implications across Africa.
“There is a need for a ‘troops’ surge’ in operational areas, which may require recalling Nigerian troops from peace missions abroad to enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigerian army,” Mike Omeri, a government spokesman said Thursday.
The Nigerian government has come under strong criticism for its lackluster performance in containing the Boko Haram insurgency that continues to terrorize villages in the northeast of Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. Civilians in affected areas have long complained of Army negligence and charged the military with neglecting its duties, including running away instead of confronting militants.
Mr. Oweri said the recall of Nigerian peacekeeping forces was a point of discussion when regional countries met in Niger earlier this week to discuss the multinational strategy to combat the insurgent group, reported This Day.
With almost 3,000 troops deployed outside its borders, Nigeria is the world’s eighth largest contributor of peacekeepers to United Nations missions, and the third largest in Africa. Nigerian forces are involved with peacekeeping campaigns in South Sudan, Congo, Mali, Liberia, and Sudan’s Darfur region. Nigeria also provides troops to African Union missions.