IDRISS DEBY’S SMALL CALCULATIONS
By Celestin Ngoa Balla, US Africa News. Updated 2015-02-10
Chad portrays that its decision to attack Boko Haram as arising from a Pan-Africanist ideal.
“Not so fast.” This admonition from a Chadian opposition group living in the US is for those celebrating the achievements of the Chadian army fighting Boko Haram. According to Abdallah Chidi Djorkodey, the group’s spokesman, the Chadian army is not telling the truth about heavy losses it suffered facing Boko Haram last week. "At least three hundred Chadian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram, but the regime in Ndjamena pretends it’s an insignificant figure," said Chidi Djorkodey, who has information "from relatives at the front." According to him, the first deaths of Chadian soldiers came from kamikaze motorcycles. Rigged with explosives, dozens of Boko Haram fanatics charged full throttle on the advancing Chadian column. In addition to the loss of life, the suicide bombers damaged vehicles and tanks, and a Chadian general was wounded.
Chadian troops are facing more heavy losses in the Nigerian city, Gamboru, across the border from Fotokol in Cameroon. There, Boko Haram had given the impression of having cleared out at the approach of the opposing force. But once inside the city, the terrorists blocked all the exits and opened fire. Boko Haram will eventually lose this battle heavily. Chad is also counting many dead, but a cleverly mounted media campaign from Ndjamena is depicting this as not the case. "Cameroon and Nigeria should be wary of Chad’s media campaign," warned Chidi Djorkodey, adding: "Do not trust Idriss Deby with his hegemonic vision and remember what he did in CAR ".
The propaganda circulated by Ndjamena portrays Chad’s decision to attack Boko Haram as arising from a Pan-Africanist ideal. According to the Chadian opposition in the US, Idriss Deby, who launched his personal militia in the campaign, is making a calculation. "Twenty-five percent of the Boko Haram troops speak Chadian Arabic and therefore are from Chad, and the leaders of Boko Haram, including Abubakar Shekau, have a refuge in Chad. If Idriss Deby was really serious about destroying Boko Haram, he would start at home and would not bother outside his borders," suggests Chidi Djorkodey. According to him, Deby and Shekau were still in contact and were negotiating with each other not long ago. At that time, the Nigerian regime in Abuja was looking to Deby to open the door to negotiations with Boko Haram. Shekau gave a set of specifications to Deby to take back to the Nigerian president: Boko Haram’s men were willing to bury the hatchet if they received, among other thing, shares in the benefits of oil wealth, a finger in the distribution of the “political pie,” and infrastructure development projects for their territory. "When Deby presented the demands to the Nigerian government, it felt that they were too heavy and rejected them out of hand," says Chidi Djorkodey. Abuja, however, is depending on Deby to push for further negotiations. But at what price? The fact is that reliable sources are warning Shekau to break off negotiations and stay away from Deby. Thus, for the Chadian president, the military campaign is a slap in the face he wants to deliver to Boko Haram’s chief, while simultaneously drumming up good publicity as the new leader of Africa.