France Denies Supporting Boko Haram Insurgency

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer has declared that his country has no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency.

Gauer who spoke with The Guardian Newspaper in Abuja, disclaimed a recently published newspaper report claiming that troops of the Nigerian military had arrested a French National whom the paper claimed was assisting the insurgents.

The newspaper also published photographs of the purported Frenchman.

But the French diplomat noted that the white man in the newspaper report is a German national, who was kidnapped by members of the Boko Haram sect but was later rescued by Cameroun security forces.

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“When a newspaper makes such an enormous blunder, it loses its credibility. Who will trust them anymore?” Gauer said.

The ambassador wondered how France could become sympathetic to Boko Haram, having been at the forefront of the war against terrorism across the world.

Gauer admitted that France has its internal crises with some of its radicalised citizens who left France to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, but he maintained that there has never been any reported case of a French national providing support for the Boko Haram.

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“We now have a strong law that when those guys (who had gone to fight for ISIS or Al-Qaeda) come back to France, they are immediately arrested.

“But concerning Boko Haram, I must say I am not aware of any case of a French national involved in the group,” the ambassador said.

Gauer recalled that during the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan approached President Francois Hollande of France who immediately convened a meeting of Nigeria neighbours, Chad, Niger and Cameroun in Paris where the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF was formed to deal with the situation.

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He added that although, Nigerian authorities had on several occasions blamed terrorism activities around the Lake Chad basin on nationals other than Nigerians, the diplomat stated that Nigeria’s Francophone neighbours believed otherwise.