The Multinational Joint Taskforce has honoured 6,000 troops with medals for gallantry in the fight against insurgency.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that troops of the MNJTF are drawn from Nigeria, Tchad, Cameroon and Niger.
NAN reports that the medal ceremony was held at the headquarters complex of the MNJTF in N’djamena, Chad.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Force Commander of MNJTF, Major General A.K. Ibrahim, said the awardees served with distinction and honour and remained good ambassadors of their respective countries.
Ibrahim said: “I say a 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.”
He observed that since it began 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.
Ibrahim said: “So far, over 200,000 Internally Displaced Persons and refugees have returned to their ancestral homes across the entire region.
“These include those who fled and have returned to their 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.”
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 liaison for their support.
In his message, the Head of Mission of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, lauded the effective role of the MNJTF in the fight against terrorism and urged member states to sustain their commitment to fight insurgency.
In his speech, the Special Guest of honour, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, also lauded the task force for its effort in securing the region and assured it of Nigeria and Borno State Government support.
Zulum paid tribute to those who lost their lives in securing the region.
He lauded the ongoing mass surrender by some insurgents and urged for support.
NAN reports that the occasion also witnessed the launching of the MNJTF maiden magazine: “The MNJTF Mandate,” highlighting its activities since inception.