Sunday, September 23, 2018

An African country included in Trump’s revised “Muslim ban” has pulled out of the US-backed fight against Boko Haram militants.

Less than a month after Trump placed travel restrictions on citizens from Chad entering the US, the country has pulled hundreds of troops from neighbouring Niger where they were helping local forces fight jihadists.  

Chad’s government has not given any reason for the withdrawal of troops but it comes weeks after they warned the US travel restriction could affect their security commitments, including their involvement in the fight against the Islamist militant group. 

In a statement following the introduction of the revised ban in September, Chad’s communications minister Madeleine Alingue said it “seriously undermines Chad’s image and the good relations between the two countries, notably in the fight against terrorism,” according to Newsweek.

Residents warned they had already seen an impact from the withdrawal over the past two-weeks with a number of attacks being carried out by the militants in Niger’s Diffa region.

Diffa parliamentarian Lamido Moumouni said residents had started complaining. 

“They have come to rely on the forces so there is a perception that security will be lacking,” he said.

In September Trump expanded the list of countries covered by his original travel ban to include restrictions on citizens from Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The initial ban, established under Executive Order in January, stopped all refugee admissions and temporarily barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries, leading it to be criticised for targeting Muslims and dubbed the “Muslim ban”.

Fighting between Chad’s armed forces and Boko Haram dates back to 2015 and during the peak of the conflict Chad had 2,000 troops stationed in Niger to counter the militant group.

Additional reporting by Reuters