N’Djamena (AFP) – Dozens of Chadian tanks headed out of the capital Friday south towards Cameroon to help fight Nigeria’s dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
The convoy seen by an AFP journalist roared out of the city after Chad’s parliament voted to send armed forces to Cameroon and Nigeria to fight against the Islamists.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya had announced Thursday that Chad President Idriss Deby had decided to send “a substantial contingent” of troops to help Cameroonian armed forces who have faced repeated attcks from Boko Haram.
A source close to the army said the force had begun preparing for departure on Thursday.
Earlier on Friday, Chad’s parliament in N’Djamena voted 150 to 0 to send an unspecified number of “Chadian armed troops and security forces to assist Cameroonian and Nigerian soldiers waging war against the terrorists in Cameroon and Nigeria”.
Boko Haram is fighting to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria along the border with Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
Cameroon has been critical of the passivity of the Nigerian authorities and the international community in the face of Boko Haram aggression.
Since Boko Haram’s insurgency began, around 135,000 people have fled the restive northeast of Nigeria country and at least 850,000 have been displaced inside the region.
So far Chad has been spared, but only a narrow strip of land separate it from the Islamists’ headquarters in the Nigerian state of Borno.