25 February, 2013
THOUGH the debate about the rightness
or otherwise of the use of external forces to check the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has simmered down, it may be stoked with a planned
intervention of the United States (U.S.) in the crisis.
Apparently worried by the increasing
activities of Boko Haram not only in
Nigeria but in other African countries,
President Barack Obama and the U.S.
government are now taking the threat
posed by the group more seriously and they are already considering military
options, including the deployment of
drones and spy planes.
At the weekend, President Obama under War Powers Resolution of the U.S. Public Law, increased the number of American military personnel deployed to Nigeria’s border country, Niger, to 100, just about a week after the incoming Commander of the U. S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Gen. David M. Rodriguez of the U.S. Army, confirmed that Boko Haram operations now cut across Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger, Mali and Chad.
U.S. local media had reported about the
same time that the deployment of U.S.
military to Niger is with the intention of
setting up a drone base to gather
intelligence without ruling out drone
attacks against terrorists in Mali and Nigeria. In an even more categorical statement, Gen. Rodriguez disclosed that the U.S. military already had sufficient legal authorisation to go after Boko Haram’s operatives in Nigeria or in the African region based on existing military authorisations against Al-Qaeda.
In a February 22 letter to the leaders of
the U.S. Congress, made available to The
Guardian yesterday, Obama confirmed
that by February 20, 2013, “the last
elements of a deployment of approximately 40 additional U.S. military personnel entered Niger with
the consent of the Government of Niger.” According to Obama in the letter he
personally signed, “this deployment will
provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate
intelligence sharing with French forces
conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region. The total
number of U.S. military personnel deployed in Niger is approximately 100.
The recently deployed forces have …
weapons for the purpose of providing
their own force protection and security.”