200 Boko Haram Militants, 9 Chad Troops Die in Clashes

200 Boko Haram Militants, 9 Chad Troops Die in Clashes200 Boko Haram Militants, 9 Chad Troops Die in Clashes

Chad said Wednesday it inflicted heavy losses on Nigeria’s Boko Haram, killing “over 200” militants in a border town that it wrested from the rebels in a ground offensive.

Nine Chadian soldiers were also killed and 21 injured Tuesday in Gamboru as regional forces took the fight against the insurgents on to Nigerian soil for the first time, the Chadian army said, AFP reported.

“This toll is provisional,” the Chadian military said in a statement, adding that troops were still combing the town on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon for lingering rebel elements.

Around 2,000 Chadian troops backed by armored vehicles poured across the border into Gamboru Tuesday after the African Union last week backed a regional force to take on the extremists.

While the operation in Gamboru continued, the town of Fotokol on the other side of the border, in Cameroon, came under fresh attack from Boko Haram. The Cameroonian troops had managed to repel the attack by mid-morning, after Chadian soldiers crossed back from Nigeria to help defend the town.

In Gamboru, the clashes left scenes of desolation, with bodies lying on the ground, houses destroyed, shops gutted and trucks charred.

Nigeria’s military has drawn fierce criticism for failing to hold back the insurgents, who have stepped up their campaign of terror in country’s northeast in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections February 14.

Chadian troops and vehicles have massed near Boko Haram-held towns along Nigeria’s border with Niger, pointing the way to another possible cross-border operation.

  UNSC Concerned

The UN Security Council on Tuesday reiterated its “deep concern” in a statement that Boko Haram is “undermining the peace and stability of the West and Central African region.”

It urged immediate stepped up regional military coordination and operations to more effectively combat Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries.

Council members condemned the escalating attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and against Chadian army soldiers deployed to fight the militant group in Cameroon.

The council singled out the group’s recent attacks on Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria, in Borno State and in the Lake Chad Basin region including against the Chadian army.

It also commended the Chadian army’s swift assistance in the fight against Boko Haram in Cameroon, “during which 123 Boko Haram combatants were neutralized and others were captured.” African leaders at a summit Saturday authorized the creation of a 7,500-strong multinational force to fight Boko Haram.