Over the weekend an estimated 1000 Boko Haram fighters took over a Cameroonian military base in the northern border town of Ashigashiya. Air strikes ordered by Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya effectively allowed the base to be taken back. Biya’s show of resolve despite limited resources is a new contrast to the baffling discord between the U.S. and Nigerian leadership. Despite the spike in international and U.S. attention in response to the mass kidnapping of Nigerian girls earlier this year both Nigerian president, Jonathan Goodluck and the U.S. administration have found ways to avoid a decisive approach to confronting Boko Haram.
The lack of resolve expected from the U.S. combined with the lack of faith in President Goodluck has long been recognized. The Cameroonian airstrikes were to be expected as members of Lake Chad’s regional security partnership are all threatened. The idea that Boko Haram can hold territory and muster a force of 1000 men and over run a military base among a trail of defenseless villages is concerning to Niger and Chad as well. It bears repeating that when the U.S. president speaks with no consequential actions to follow, the power of the United States is made meaningless and real people suffer. In the case of the Lake Chad region there are leaders and actors who step up.