Wednesday, January 28, 2015 7:05 pm
Chad’s Interior Minister Abderahim Bireme Hamid has said the country does not fear any reprisal attacks following its decision to send to troops to Cameroon and Nigeria to help them fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
In an interview with Xinhua, the Chinese news agency in the capital N’Djamena, Bireme Hamid urged the people to cooperate with the defense and security forces.
“All our borders with Cameroon and Nigeria, even those with the Central African Republic and Sudan, are well guarded. There’s nothing to fear,” the minister affirmed.
“With our engagement against Boko Haram, we cannot rule out the possibility of reprisal attacks, but we are vigilant,” he said, adding that “all precautionary measures were taken long before troops had been deployed to neighboring Cameroon” to fight against the militants.
“I cannot tell you the finer details of the measures taken, but I want to reiterate that our security and defense forces are working 24/7,” the minister insisted.
For some weeks now, Chad’s intelligence and security officers have reinforced their vigilance on the regions neighboring Cameroon.
For instance, along Maroua-Kousseri road that links Chad to Cameroon, where movement had become difficult due to Boko Haram attacks, Chad has redirected movement towards Cameroon’s southern town of Yagoua and the Chadian town of Bongor.
“Along the roads, we are very vigilant, controlling everything to ensure nothing escapes us,” Hamid said.
On the northern and southern entries to N’Djamena, as well as the interior of the country, roadblocks have been increased.
“The population should understand us. The security roadblocks have been set up temporarily. They will be removed once the operations have been terminated,” the interior minister said.
In public places such as schools, markets or religious places, security has equally been reinforced.
Day and night, arrests of people suspected to be sympathizers of Boko Haram are happening in the capital N’Djamena.
“The arrests are not targeted at a particular social group or community, but those suspected of being close to Boko Haram,” the minister said, adding that “the arrests had enabled the authorities to gather crucial information.”
This week’s Boko Haram attacks in northeast Nigeria have forced 12,000 Nigerians to flee to Chad’s Baga-Sola territory where they are living in deplorable conditions. The situation has equally affected trade between Chad and neighboring countries, especially Nigeria.
The minister ruled out the possibility of demobilized Chadian soldiers ever joining Boko Haram to “destabilize their country” as has been reported by certain international media.
Regarding fears that Koranic schools could be breeding grounds for Boko Haram sympathizers, Hamid said everything was under control.
“I have heard several times this song that madrassas or Koranic schools are dormant cells of terrorists. That is not true because I personally went to such Islamic religious school,” the interior minister said.
He said Chadian Muslims were not extremists and were peacefully practicing their religion.
The minister concluded by urging the population to continue cooperating with security forces to avert any attack.
“The hotlines are working. You need not identify yourself, just simply tell us that you suspect something at such and such place and the security forces will rush to the ground,” he explained, noting that “this will guarantee security for all.”