Nigerian Defense Minister Bashir Salihi Magashi said on Wednesday that the country will beef up security along its border with Chad, which is in the grip of a political crisis following the sudden death of its leader, Idriss Deby.
The border reinforcements are expected to deal with any potential influx of refugees from Chad, according to Magashi, with only Nigerians from the other side being allowed entry.
“There will be a lot of trouble for all neighboring countries if there is no security in Chad.” But, thankfully, we have a lot of ongoing military cooperation, which we expect to continue,” he said.
“We continue to be vigilant about our borders and developments in Chad,” he added.
Nigeria already has problems in the northeast, where it shares a border with Chad, where it is fighting an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
Magashi’s remarks come a day after his counterpart in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Geoffrey Onyeama, expressed Nigeria’s concern over the developments in Chad.
Deby died on the frontlines of a battle against rebels who had invaded from the north on Monday, and his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, took over as president and commander of the armed forces. On Wednesday, Mahamat dissolved the government and parliament as rebel forces threatened to march on N’Djamena, the capital.
Chad has the best-trained and most battle-hardened troops in the Lake Chad Basin region, and any instability in the country would undermine efforts to combat the region’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, as well as other Al-Qaeda-linked groups and the Islamic State.