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