NPR

Amid Aid Uncertainty, U.S. Counterterrorism Cooperation Continues In Africa

Forces from 27 countries took part last month in U.S.-led counterterrorism exercises to fight extremist violence by Boko Haram, the flow of foreign fighters and trafficking in the Lake Chad region.
Helmeted Chadian and other African police commandos, armed with dummy rifles hunt down terrorist suspects who've taken hostages in the building, during a US military led Flintlock 2017 law enforcement exercise in Ndjamena Chad, 15 March 2017. Source: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Along the Chari and Logone rivers separating Cameroon from Chad's capital, four flat-bottomed boats, mounted with machine guns, brimming with Chadian and other special forces, round the curve as they approach the riverbank.

Forming an assault force, heavily armed soldiers leap out of the vessels and race up a slope to take up positions while backup forces have their machine guns at the ready.

It's all part of a military exercise that simulates going after a high-value target – a leader from the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram insurgency, who's taken up residence in a huddle of huts on the far side of the riverfront, a terrorist safe haven. The assault force demonstrates crucial military steps before capturing and eliminating him.

Three weeks of U.S.-led counterterrorism exercises, known as Flintlock 2017, ended last month in Chad, which, along with surrounding countries, has been targeted for the past eight

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