FG invites South Africa special forces to fight Boko Haram
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, has said South Africa will send its special forces to the country to help in the fight against Boko Haram.
Dan-Ali said during a meeting with his South African counterpart, Ms.Nobise Mapisa-Nqakula, in Abuja on Monday, discussions on the deployment of the special forces had reached an advanced stage.
He said the Chiefs of Defence Staff of the two countries had held talks on the special forces and that the arrangement would soon be concluded.
The minister said the development was a follow- up to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2013.
Dan-Ali said, 'It is a very good thing that we are thinking that South Africa being our close ally should come and help us in developing our industrial complex, that is the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria.
'We are of the opinion that very soon, when the two Commanders-in-Chief meet, and the visit is finalised, we will look into going deep on how the two countries will work together and come to an agreement on the MoU and technical expertise between the two countries.
'This is just like the special forces that have been discussed by the two Chiefs of Defence Staff, that one will come into being between the two countries as soon as possible.'
Mapisa-Nqakula said the cooperation between the two countries would lead to stronger ties.
She stated that the areas of collaboration would include the 'transfer of skills, technologies, processing development together between the two nations'.
However, she said the areas of cooperation would be dependent on the decisions of the Chiefs of Defence Staff, who had identified the critical areas, including procurement during an earlier meeting.
The South African minister said a committee on defence put in place by the two countries would reach an agreement in June.
Meanwhile, the Chief of South African National Defence Force, Gen. Zakaria Shoke, has said that his country's military was willing to work with the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, quoted Shoke as saying the SADF was also willing to support Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.
The statement also quoted the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, as having asked for 'the training of more special forces and equipment that could be used against Boko Haram, which he has been substantially decimated and degraded'.
Olonisakin promised that the war against Boko Haram would soon end. Punch