Boko Haram: Why Is Nigeria Turning To South African Mercenaries?

Boko Haram: Why Is Nigeria Turning To South African Mercenaries?

From The Conversation

Nigeria has drafted “hundreds of mercenaries from South Africa” in its fight against Boko Haram. South Africans have a long-standing reputation as being among the best mercenaries in the world, and have been present in one form or another in most African conflicts for the past two decades.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his army are under pressure to curtail the Islamist militant group’s activities before the presidential elections on March 28. But the Nigerian security and military forces have been embroiled in scandal after scandal ranging from corruption and desertion to human rights abuses. All this has effectively restricted their ability to act decisively against the designated terrorist organisation, which has thrived in the north east of the country over the past three years.

On the frontline

The use of South African mercenaries is a logical step for Jonathan’s government who has been battling the insurgency with little success. These men have a track record of providing quality counter-terrorism training through various pop-up private military and security companies. They have assisted several governments in overcoming insurgencies in Angola, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.

South African soldiers have extensive experience conducting mobile operations in hostile environments and can provide immediate access to airpower. This is particularly useful in fighting Boko Haram in the Sambisa Forest, a dense area approximating 60,000 square kilometers in the northeast of the country which has become the insurgents’ stronghold.

Read more at The Conversation