Nigeria reinforces security along Chad border to stem influx of refugees

Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Baga on August 2, 2019. - Intense fighting between a regional force and the Islamic State group in West Africa (ISWAP) has resulted in dozens of deaths, including at least 25 soldiers and more than 40 jihadists, in northeastern Nigeria. ISWAP broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 in part due to its rejection of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Last year the group witnessed a reported takeover by more hardline fighters who sidelined its leader and executed his deputy. The IS-affiliate has since July 2018 ratcheted up a campaign of attacks against military targets. (Photo by AUDU MARTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian Defence minister Bashir Salihi Magashi on Wednesday said Nigeria will increase its security along the border with Chad which was plunged into a political crisis following the sudden death of its leader Idriss Deby.

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Nigeria. (Photo credit AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The reinforcement of the borders is expected to deal with any potential influx of refugees from Chad, Magashi said, with only Nigerians from the other side being allowed entry.

“If there’s no security in Chad there will be a lot of trouble for all neighboring countries. But thankfully we have a lot of ongoing military cooperation, through the MNJTF, which we expect to continue,” he said.

“We remain mindful of our borders, and developments in Chad,” he added.

Nigeria already has its problems in the northeast, where its border with Chad is, as it battles an Islamist insurgency which has resulted in thousands of deaths of people and hundreds of thousands of others being displaced.

Magashi’s comments come a day after his counterpart at the Foreign Affairs ministry Geoffrey Onyeama expressed Nigeria’s concern at the turn of events in Chad.

Deby died on Monday on the frontlines of a battle against rebels who had invaded from the north and, his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, took over as president and armed forces commander. Mahamat on Wednesday dissolved the government and parliament as rebel forces threatened to march on the capital, N’Djamena.

Chad has the Lake Chad Basin region’s best-trained and most battled-hardened troops, and any instability in it would negatively efforts to fight Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the region and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups and Islamic State in the Sahel.

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