Africa: Boko Haram – Nigeria, U.S., France, UK, Cameroon, Chad, Niger Meet in Paris

Jaiyeola Andrews and Damilola Oyedele

ThisDay

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Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica

Nigerian Army mounts rescue mission for abducted schoolgirls Interpol pledges support.

In order to effectively tackle the menace of the deadly religious sect, Boko Haram, President Goodluck Jonathan, President Paul Biya of Cameroon, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and President Idriss Deby of Chad will meet in Paris soon in a move initiated by the United States, France and United Kingdom.

THISDAY gathered last night that the meeting is aimed at evolving a global military strategy to combat the violent sect, which has become a cross border terror group carrying out campaign of terror across the Sahel region.

Though, it could not be confirmed if US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron would attend in person, French President Francois Hollande is expected to chair the meeting.

The upcoming Paris meeting will work out ways by which joint missions from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon can effectively tackle the terrorist group that has claimed thousands of lives in the last five years.

The full cooperation of Chad, Niger and Cameroon – all of which share land borders with Nigeria – is seen as a prerequisite for an effective campaign against the sect.

Boko Haram is 90 per cent Kanuri-based with its membership drawn from the Kanuri of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Boko Haram has been launching attacks from those territories on communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, with the latest being the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State.

Some of the schoolgirls abducted were reported to have been ferried across Nigerian borders into the territories of the two neighbouring countries.

The three western nations had stepped up their support for Nigeria to combat the sect following the abduction of the schoolgirls.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has posted troops from two divisions to hunt for the over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped last month by the terror group. The Director of Defence Intelligence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, who disclosed this at the weekend, said the soldiers were stationed in the border region close to Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic to work with other security agencies. News about the troop deployment came as President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday at Oporoza, in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State, that the International Police (Interpol) had vowed to help Nigeria to solve the abduction incident. Jonathan revealed the Interpol commitment at the groundbreaking ceremonies of the NIMASA Shipyard and Dockyard, Okerenkoko, and Nigeria Maritime University at Kurutie, projects under the auspices of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The Nigerian government has been criticised for its slow response to the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram on April 14. They were writing the school certificate examination when Boko Haram insurgents snatched them from the school’s hostels. About 50 of the girls have escaped, while more than 200 remain in captivity. The kidnapping of the girls caused international outrage, with many countries, including the United States, Britain, France, and China, offering to assist in their rescue.

Another set of eight girls from Warabe village also in Borno State were kidnapped by the insurgents on May 5.

In a statement at the weekend, Olukolade said, “The facilities of the Nigerian Army signals as well as all the communication facilities of the Nigeria Police and all the services have been devoted into coordinating this search.”

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