The Commonwealth Observer

Canadian soldiers on multi-nat exercise in Africa quit site threatened by Boko Haram

Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

The proximity of Boko Haram forces required Canadian special-forces to quit counterterrorism training in Niger.

They pulled back from a border region and stayed clear of fighting between Boko Haram extremists and government troops.

Boko Haram forces have won virtual control over northern parts of Nigeria and neiboring states by slaughtering hundreds of civilians, kidnapping scores of teenage girls and forcing Nigerian troops to flee.

Now the Canadian military says it will step up its role in Niger if Ottawa decides to send aid. The government of Niger, a poor desert country, recently declared a state of emergency in the border region of Diffa after a number of attacks by Boko Haram.

Training offered includes shooting, communications and mission planning – skills that will better serve them against a fanatical foe. Boko Haram is believed to control more than 50,000 square kilometres of territory in western Africa and is destabilizing the region.

Ottawa is emphatic, however, that Canada’s special-forces, however willing, were never under fire from Boko Haram and did not engage them. The Canadians are involved in an annual U.S.-sponsored military exercise called Flintlock, which ended last month.

Source—wire services

Photo credit: I am I.A.M. / cc

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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