Nigeria World

South African Mercenaries Join Fight Against Boko Haram

Hundreds of mercenaries from South Africa and other countries are playing a decisive role in Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram, operating attack helicopters and armored personnel carriers and fighting to retake towns and villages captured by the Islamist militant group.

Though the government is yet to acknowledged the presence of the mercenaries, a senior government official in northern Nigeria who spoke anonymously said;

“They are playing a very important role. They are in the vanguard in the liberation of some of the communities. They came in with much more sophisticated equipment than the military. Thanks to their involvement the tide is turning. I believe because of them we will witness a seismic shift.”

At least one South African private contractor, 59-year-old Leon Lotz, has been reported killed in clashes with Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group that’s recently became an affiliate of the Islamic State, has carved a gruesome trail through northern Nigeria and carried out attacks also in neighboring Cameroon and Niger. They have abducted hundreds of people, slaughtered thousands and continued their operations despite a heavy-handed military response.

A coalition of 8,700 troops from Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin have also joined the battle. A joint offensive by forces from Niger and Chad recently managed to wrest a number of towns away from Boko Haram’s clutches.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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