Nigeria Special Forces facing stiff resistance from Libyan Islamic insurgents roped in with Boko Haram

A Nigeria Special Forces Unit 

Nigeria's military has been involved in heavy fighting with Islamist insurgents armed with sophisticated weapons from Libya, as it steps up an offensive aimed at flushing out Boko Haram from its North-Eastern bases.

This again confirms the ongoing frustration (across much of West Africa) with the unstable situation in the North African country (Libya) since the U.S. and France joined forces with these same Islamic insurgents to remove former Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi.

According to a Defense Ministry source, the Islamic insurgents "have been putting up very fierce resistance and they are very, very well-armed with weapons from Libya", the official stated.

A senior military official, also on condition of anonymity, stressed that intelligence gathered thus far from the Nigerian military offensive, lends credence to the initial thought that these hardened Libyan insurgents are now scattered across the region's semi-desert borders.

Concerns grew particularly after Islamist militants associated with al Qaeda seized the north of Mali last year and were dislodged only after French-led military intervention.

A renewed military campaign, including aerial bombardments of Boko Haram training camps in three remote states which were put under emergency rule this month had led to the capture of over 200 militants and the death of dozens in a week, according to the military.

In a sign of increasing concerns about jihadist movements (from Libya and North Africa) jumping borders, Nigeria has also asked neighboring Niger Republic for military support, as it seeks to police endless miles of shared desert borders, underlining moves towards West African cooperation against jihadists seen as a cross-border threat.

Military sources said the hardened Islamist rebels entrenched in the North were using cross-border routes to smuggle in weapons, to aid the Boko Haram insurgency.

Nigeria and Niger Republic signed a bilateral defense pact late last year, that includes sharing intelligence on Islamist groups, as well as joint military exercises. The deal stipulates that a request for military aid by one nation cannot be refused by the other.

The two West African nations share a porous frontier of more than 1000 miles. The fighting in Nigeria has pushed more than a thousand refugees across the border into Niger in the past few weeks, according to United Nations estimates, that have not been independently verified.

Soldiers from Niger and neighboring Chad recently participated with Nigerian forces in a joint assault on Boko Haram fighters last month in Baga, a fishing settlement on the shores of Lake Chad.