We’re act­ing on Turkey’s troop de­ploy­ment in Libya – FG

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Ade­lani Ade­pegba, Abuja

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment on Mon­day said it had taken mea­sures to com­bat any sit­u­a­tion that might arise from Turkey’s de­ploy­ment of troops in Libya.

The Min­istry of De­fence spokesman, Mr Charles Nwodo, dis­closed this in an in­ter­view with our cor­re­spon­dent in Abuja, just as the De­fence Head­quar­ters said it would de­ploy sol­diers to ad­dress Cha­dian troop with­drawal from Lake Chad.

De­fence min­istry’s spokesman, Nwodo, was asked how gov­ern­ment planned to cur­tail in­flux of ter­ror­ists from Libya , when Turk­ish troops fi­nally ar­rived in the North African coun­try.

Although Nwodo did not give de­tails of the gov­ern­ment plans, he said, “We are proac­tive and ev­ery mea­sure had been taken to com­bat that sit­u­a­tion.”

The Turk­ish Pres­i­dent, Tayyip Er­doğan, had on Sun­day in an in­ter­view with the CNN, said Turk­ish forces were al­ready on their way to Libya. “Our sol­diers’ duty there is co­or­di­na­tion. They will de­velop the op­er­a­tion cen­tre there. Our sol­diers are grad­u­ally go­ing right now,” he said.

The de­ploy­ment of Turk­ish troops in Libya has height­ened con­cern that dis­placed gun­men from the North African coun­try could head to­wards West Africa.

Re­call that the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor Gen­eral

Muham­madu Buhari (retd.), had in 2018 said some ter­ror­ists from Libya in­fil­trated Nige­ria fol­low­ing the death of for­mer Libyan pres­i­dent, Muam­mar Gaddafi, in 2011.

Turkey’s de­ploy­ment of troops a sub­re­gional is­sue – DHQ

But the act­ing Di­rec­tor, De­fence In­for­ma­tion, Brig.-gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said Turkey’s de­ploy­ment of troops in Libya was a sub­re­gional se­cu­rity is­sue that would be han­dled by the Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity of West African States.

He re­called that the sit­u­a­tion was dis­cussed dur­ing a meet­ing of ECOWAS Chiefs of De­fence Staff, not­ing that co­gent mea­sures would be taken to ad­dress the emerg­ing threat.

Nwachukwu stated, “That is why it is very im­por­tant for the ECOWAS sub-re­gion to be­gin to look at it. This has be­come an in­ter­na­tional thing. I re­call that in the meet­ing of Chiefs of De­fence Staff, these is­sues were dis­cussed and I be­lieve co­gent steps should be taken to such is­sues.

“It is about sub-re­gional se­cu­rity now be­cause it has be­come transna­tional. You see the ter­ror­ists mov­ing from coun­try to coun­try. Once they can’t stay in a coun­try, they move to an­other coun­try where they feel they can have a safe haven. It’s a sub-re­gional thing and I think it should be ad­dressed at that level.”

Nwachukwu also said the Com­man­der of the Multi-na­tional Joint Task Force, Ma­jor

Gen­eral Ibrahim Yusuf, had con­ducted an as­sess­ment of the gap cre­ated by the with­drawal of Cha­dian troops from the Lake Chad re­gion.

It ex­plained that ap­pro­pri­ate de­ploy­ments would be made to take care of the se­cu­rity vac­uum in the area.

About 1,200 Cha­dian troops had with­drawn from the MNJTF and re­turned to their na­tional borders fol­low­ing the ex­pi­ra­tion of their man­date which ended in De­cem­ber 2019.

The AFP had re­ported the with­drawal of the Cha­dian troops from Lake Chad end­ing their mis­sion fight­ing Boko Haram in the North-east on Fri­day.

The Cha­dian Army spokesman, Col. Azem Ber­man­doa, told the AFP that the troops would re­turn to their sec­tor at Lake Chad.

“It’s our troops who went to aid Nige­rian sol­diers months ago re­turn­ing home. They have fin­ished their mis­sion. None of our sol­diers re­mains in Nige­ria. Those who have come back will re­turn to their sec­tor at Lake Chad,” Ber­man­doa re­port­edly said.

Nwachukwu, in the in­ter­view with The PUNCH, stated that the MNJTF was al­ready ad­dress­ing the vac­uum cre­ated by the with­drawal of the Cha­dian troops.

He stated, “The (MNJTF) com­man­der is look­ing at the gap that is go­ing to be cre­ated by that with­drawal. Ap­pro­pri­ate as­sess­ment has been done and I be­lieve it would be fol­lowed by ap­pro­pri­ate de­ploy­ment to take care of this gap.”

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