Five African Countries Send Battalions To Combat Boko Haram

Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Cameroon and Niger will contribute one battalion of troops each to the international force established to fight Boko Haram and other rebel groups in the region.

This is one of the decisions reached at the Regional Summit on Security held in Paris last Saturday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, told journalists during a news briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region will continue to cooperate and coordinate efforts to combat the Boko Haram menace,” Abati said.

United States, France and United Kingdom will extend technical assistance to the international force established to patrol the five countries’ border areas. This will add to the support offered by US, UK, France, Israel and China prior to the Paris regional summit.

The Media Adviser added that Nigeria and its neighbouring states are commitеed to set up an effective border management regime that would fully prevent the proliferation of small arms, light weapons and other equipment made available to terrorists.

President Goodluck Jonathan at the Regional Summit on Security in Paris, May 17, 2014

Abati also said that President Goodluck Jonathan had tasked relevant government agencies to ensure enhanced implementation of relief assistance in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency. The assistance includes provision of food, medicaments, basic relief commodities, and conditional cash transfers for affected households. The president also directed the assessment of the extent of damage to public and private infrastructure.

Besides, Jonathan assured that the Federal Government was taking every necessary measure to find and release the 234 female students who had been kidnapped by the Islamist Boko Haram more than a month ago. According to Abati, the FG would provide counselling services to the girls to enable their return to school.

“In collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the private sector, the government will launch the Safe Schools Initiative. This will address security issues, rebuild the destroyed schools and provide equipment and materials,” Abati quoted the president as saying.

abducted girls
A screen capture taken from the latest Boko Haram video shows the kidnapped girls dressed in hijabs and praying in an undisclosed rural location. Credit: AFP

Also on Tuesday, May 20, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar ordered Command Commissioners of Police to being threats analysis and security audit in all boarding schools in Nigeria.

To recall, nearly 300 female students were abducted from the dormitories of the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 15. The international community has criticised the FG and President Joanthan for their slow response to the abduction.

According to the latest reports, Boko Haram militants are suspected to be behind the killing of 17 people that occurred on May 20 in Alagarno village, Borno State. Earlier that day no fewer than 118 people perished in a twin blasts in Jos, Plateau State. In the morning on May 21 unknown gunmen killed at least 30 residents of Shawa village, Borno State.


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