Angered by the recent decision of President Donald Trump to include it on the revised travel ban, Chad has pulled hundreds of its troops from neighboring Niger, where they had been stationed to assist in a regional fight against Boko Haram, the Nigerian militant Islamist group, according to reports by Reuters.
Chad is part of the multinational force battling the Nigerian based Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram comprising of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.
Chad’s government has not given any explanation for the withdrawal, which took place over the past two weeks. But in the wake of Trump’s pronouncement on September 24, Chad’s Communications Minister Madeleine Alingué said that the decision “seriously undermines Chad’s image and the good relations between the two countries, notably in the fight against terrorism.”
The Trump administration said that Chad did not “adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information” and that multiple terrorist groups were active in the country and the surrounding region.
The White House did however acknowledge Chad as an “important and valuable counterterrorism partner” and said that it had shown a “clear willingness to improve” in the areas of immigration and border management.
The country is well-known for having one of the strongest militaries in the region. Chad’s longtime president, Idriss Déby —who has long been accused of political repression—has made national security a priority of his administration and even had a war of words with Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
Chad also assisted African and French forces with dislodging Al-Qaeda-linked militants and separatists from northern Mali in 2013, after a 2012 rebellion had seen the Malian government lose control of the region.
Residents in Niger’s Diffa region said that the Chadian withdrawal had already led to increased banditry. Boko Haram have periodically launched attacks in southeast Niger, just across the border with Nigeria