Global Security Contingency Fund Helps African Partners Take the Fight to Boko Haram

In recent years, Boko Haram has captured headlines around the world. They have terrorized communities in northern Nigeria, as well as in neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger through a deadly series of bombings, kidnappings, and raids that have claimed more than 10,000 lives and caused more than a million people to flee from their homes and seek refuge. Under a new joint U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense initiative, the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF) is partnering with African nations to step up the regional fight against Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, like many terrorist and insurgent groups around the world, routinely take advantage of porous borders to launch attacks, evade capture, secure supplies and enroll new recruits. Regional cooperation is essential to strengthening border security, and with U.S. support, these four nations can disrupt Boko Haram’s freedom of movement, thus degrading their capability to conduct attacks and terrorize innocent families. 

In May, the United States hosted the Multinational Regional Border Patrol Strategy Workshop at our Embassy in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. senior-level security officials from the Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria met to discuss improved coordination, national border security, and coordinated counterterrorism strategies.

The workshop was made possible through the GSCF, a program that will contribute to combatting Boko Haram. A joint fund between the Department of State and the Department of Defense, GSCF is a unique authority aimed at better combining diplomacy and defense to provide support to partner nations’ security and law enforcement institutions to address emergent challenges and opportunities that we consider to be important to U.S. national security and our foreign policy interests.

The United States is proud to support this effort with our Lake Chad Basin partners, and through the GSCF will invest approximately $40 million to help train and equip national-level military and civilian security forces from these four African countries to take on this difficult challenge and lay the groundwork for increased cross-border cooperation to counter Boko Haram.

U.S. funded training will include courses in border security planning and development; rural border patrol operations; border security reconnaissance tactics; community-oriented and information-led policing strategies; logistics and engineering. We will also be delivering vehicles, body armor, small arms and ammunition, radios, night vision devices, thermal imaging and optics, GPS, and medical supplies to facilitate the development of the partners’ capabilities. The key is to streamline training and tactics, making cooperation amongst the four countries easier. In order to properly secure a border and combat Boko Haram, collaboration is necessary as it guarantees proper communication and procedure and certifies the strength of the border on both sides.

Having recently pledged its allegiance to ISIL, Boko Haram has taken steps in the hopes of expanding its reach. With GSCF, however, countries in the region will have new and improved capabilities to step up to the challenge to improve regional security, allowing displaced families to return to their homes and begin to rebuild. The continuing success of regional counter Boko Haram endeavors stands as testimony to the importance of regional cooperation.

About the author: Luisa Holland is a 2/C Midshipman studying at the U.S. Naval Academy. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the views of the naval service or the Naval Academy.

Comments

Comments

Ade A.
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United States
August 29, 2015
Boko Haram is the result of the failure of past Nigerian government in neglecting the social issues in the country. The government breeds book haram and let them find the solution. My suggestions are 1. invest in education. 2. Invest and encourage entrepreneurial innovation. 3. Ensure accountability and the principles of rule of law should be firmly established.
Participants at the Multinational Regional Border Patrol Strategy Workshop at the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon
Posted by Luisa Holland
July 27, 2015

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