UPDATED 1:44 PM PT — Monday, March 4, 2019
The U.S. military is offering support to a multinational joint task force aligned against the Islamic State and its offshoot organization Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region of Africa.
This follows President Trump’s announcement late last year that U.S. troops would be pulled out of Syria, citing the Islamic State’s essential defeat in the region.
“We’ve been fighting for a long time in Syria, I’ve been president for almost two years and we’ve really stepped it up,” he stated. “We have won against ISIS, we’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly, we’ve taken back the land, and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
U.S. officials have looked toward North and West Africa since then, where many ISIS offshoot organizations still reside.
Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon are part of a joint coalition of troops dedicated to eradicating Boko Haram from West Africa.
While U.S. troops are not permitted to directly engage in the conflict with jihadi groups in the region, the military has provided support for the joint task force since February in the form of intelligence, training, equipment and advisers.
The U.S. has supported most countries in the coalition, however, it has typically steered clear of providing military aid to Nigeria due to multiple human rights violations that have historically plagued the nation.
As tensions continue to rise and Nigerians continue to die in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists, the United States has stepped up to help strengthen Nigeria’s military intelligence.
A report from the intelligence firm Stratfor predicts that as the campaign against jihadi militant groups in the Middle East comes to a close, the world’s next focus will be on tackling their threat in Africa.