The Multinational National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has on Thursday at its headquarters in N’djamena honoured officers and men drawn from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger with medals for meritorious services.
Speaking at the occassion, the Force Commander, Maj. Gen. A.K Ibrahim said the awardees served with distinction and honour and remained good ambassadors of thier respective countries.
“I say big congratulations to you all. I remain profoundly proud of your sacrifice and contribution to peace, progress and development in the region.
“I however hasten to say that the work is not completely done yet, but we shall get there,” Ibrahim said.
The commander noted that the Thursday ceremony was unique as it not only commemorated the seven years of the MNJTF reoperationalization with the mandate to fight terrorism and insurgency in the Lake Chad Region but also afford the opportunity to appreciate and honour its personnel for their consistent doggedness and sacrifice.
“Today’s ceremony therefore is to honour Military Staff Officers who have completed thier statutory tour of duty as well as deserving personnel who participated in the recently concluded Operation Lake Sanity.
“It is also to honour outstanding personnel who displayed rare bravery and courage in Operation Lake Sanity with the Head of Missiin Galantry Medal/Award. A total of 6,000 personnel from all the Troops Contributing Countries will be awarded with three categories of medals.
“For today, medals will only be presented to Military Staff Officers of headquarters and other deserving personnel while the Sector Commanders will at a later date decorate thier own officers in thier respective sector locations,” Ibrahim said.
He observed that since its commenced operations seven years ago, the MNJTF has conducted eight successful operations leading to neutralising of thousands of terrorists and the surrender of many others which is still ongoing.
The commander said that major terrorists strongholds which hitherto were no go areas had been cleared with many captives rescued.
“So far over 200,000 Internally displaced person and refugees have returned to thier ancestral homes across the entire region.
“These include those who fled and have returned to thier hometowns in Baroua, N’gagam, N’garwa Koura in Diffa, Niger Republic; Cross-Kauwa, Baga, Doroa-Baga in Borno, Nigeria; Kolofata, Makari and Fotokol in Cameroon, and Madai, Kangalia in Chad amongst many others,” Ibrahim said.
While reiterating the commitment of the force to its assigned tasks, the commander lauded the host country and other strategic partners, particularly European Union, African Union, United States, United Kingdom, France and the centre for coordination and liason for their support.
In his message, the Head of Mission of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Amb. Mamman Nuhu, lauded the effective role of the MNJTF is the fight against terrorism and urged member states to sustain thier commitment to fight.
In his speech, the Special Guest of honour who is the Governor of Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum also lauded the task force for its effort in securing the region and assured it of Nigeria and Borno government support.
Zulum paid tribute to those who lost thier lives in securing the region, particularly in the recent operation Lake Sanity and lauded measures to support their families.
He lauded the onging mass surrender by some insurgents and urged support development.
The occassion also witnessed the launching of the MNJTF maiden magazine “The MNJTF Madate” highlighting its activities since inception.