Thursday, 29 January 2015

African Union proposes 7,500-strong force to counter Boko Haram amid rising cross border attacks

The African Union has called for a regional five-nation force of 7,500 troops to defeat the "horrendous" rise of the Nigerian armed group Boko Haram.

According to Aljazeera, The statement on Friday came after Boko Haram increased cross border raids in recent weeks, in neighbouring countries such as Cameroon and Chad, as it continued to take over more territory in Nigeria.

 AU Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said "Boko Haram's horrendous abuses, unspeakable cruelty, total disregard for human lives, and wanton destruction of property are unmatched," Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement after the bloc's Peace and Security Council met late Thursday, ahead of a full AU summit meeting on Friday.
The Boko Haram uprising has become a regional crisis, with the four directly affected countries - Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria - agreeing along with Benin to boost cooperation to contain the threat and to form a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
"I am deeply concerned by the prevailing situation as a result of Boko Haram terrorist activities, including the recent escalation of violence witnessed on the ground," Dlamini-Zuma said.
"The continued attacks in northeastern Nigeria and the increasing attacks in the Lake Chad Basin, along the border with Chad and Cameroon, and in the northern provinces of that country, have the potential of destabilising the entire region, with far-reaching security and humanitarian consequences."
Regional nations pledged earlier this month to commit a battalion each to the force, a total of some 3,000 troops.
Nigeria has the largest army in west Africa but has come under criticism at home and abroad for failing to stop the advance of Boko Haram.
Earlier this month Nigerian security officials ruled out the need for a United Nations or African Union-backed force to fight Boko Haram, saying the country and its partners could handle the threat.
In a recent  development, Daily Trust reported that, Hundreds of Chadian troops yesterday liberated a Nigerian border town from Boko Haram insurgents after two days of fighting.

According to the newspaper, the Chadian ground forces drove nearly 100 kilometres westward, mostly over Niger Republic territory to liberate Malam Fatori, the headquarters of AbadamLocal Government Area of Borno State.
The Nigerian authorities say they are doing all they can to tackle the militants but neighbours, including Niger and Cameroon, have said more must be done.

Chad has already sent troops to Cameroon to help it counter Boko Haram incursions and last week Nigeria said the Chadian army would be fighting on its territory.

Ghanaian President John Mahama has said the leaders must produce a “specific plan of action” to “deal permanently” with Boko Haram.

African Union heads of state are due to discuss the crisis over Boko Haram at their summit beginning on Friday at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, where the two-day annual summit of the 54-nation bloc is slated to be held. 

Source: Aljazeera ; Link: http://bit.ly/1HpbMfr


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