N’DJAMENA – The United States military will provide communications equipment and intelligence to help African nations in the fight against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, the commander of US Special Forces operations in Africa said.
West African military commanders have long complained that cross-border operations against Islamist groups, from al Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali to Boko Haram in Nigeria, have been obstructed by lack of compatible communications equipment, making it hard to swap information and coordinate. Brigadier General James Linder said that, as part of the annual US-backed ‘Flintlock’ counter-terrorism exercises this year in Chad, the United States would provide technology allowing African partners to communicate between cellphones, radios and computers. The system also incorporates a translation function that would allow commanders in francophone countries like Chad to communicate by message with English-speaking officers in Nigeria, a US military officer said.