Chad’s government said on Sunday that its army would continue to participate in regional taskforces targeting jihadist groups, as well as the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, following President Idriss Deby’s suggestion it might withdraw its troops.
Chad is a key contributor to a multinational force in the Lake Chad basin fighting Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram. It is also the largest troop contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.
In a speech broadcast on Friday that followed heavy fighting between the army and Boko Haram, Deby said: “From today, no Chadian soldier will take part in an external military operation.”
However, in a statement on Sunday, Chad’s foreign affairs ministry said Deby’s remarks had been misinterpreted and only meant the army would no longer conduct unilateral operations beyond its borders in the Lake Chad basin.
“It was never a question for Chad of disengaging from the (anti-Boko Haram) Multinational Joint Task Force or from the G5 Sahel joint force, much less from (MINUSMA),” the statement said.
The Boko Haram insurgency, which erupted in northeast Nigeria in 2009, continues to grind on, with attacks frequently spilling over into Chad, Cameroon and Niger, Reuters reported.