W’Africa finetunes multi-national force to fight Boko Haram

The leaders of Nigeria and its neighbouring countries met in
Niger on Tuesday for talks on finalising a multi-national
force to fight Boko Haram Islamist militants.
Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan, Niger President
Mahamadou Issoufou, Idriss Deby from Chad and Benin’s
Thomas Boni Yayi gathered in the Niger capital Niamey to
discuss joint military action against the militants.
Cameroon, Nigeria’s southeastern neighbour, which has
experienced a number of incursions by the group in recent
months, was represented by its foreign minister.
In July, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon each pledged
700 soldiers to create a multi-national force to fight the
Nigeria-based group, which has killed more than 10,000
people since 2009.
“After gaining independence, the survival of our countries
has never been so threatened by the menace of terrorism,
by the forces of division and by organised crime,” Issoufou
said.
The militants are thought to be in control of more than two
dozen towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria. The
military has struggled to meet a vow to retake all lost ground
as part of a offensive launched in May 2013.
In May, African leaders agreed at a summit in Paris called by
French President Francois Hollande to cooperate against the
group through a slew of measures including joint border
patrols and intelligence sharing.

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