17 May 2014

West Africa: World Leaders in Paris to Tackle Security Threat of Boko Haram

Photo: Présidence de la République
West African presidents meet at the invitation of President Francois Hollande of France.

African leaders and representatives from the US and Britain attended a security summit in Paris on Saturday to elaborate a global strategy to combat Boko Haram. The religious sect kidnapped nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria last month, provoking international outrage.

The request for Saturday's summit came from the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, but it's Paris that's been left in charge of hosting it.

French President François Hollande thus welcomed leaders from Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, to discuss how to stop Boko Haram's terror campaign, which has extended to the whole of the Sahel region.

Last month, the islamist group provoked world wide condemnation after it kidnapped more than 200 school girls from Chibok in the north east of Nigeria.

The leader of the hardline Islamist group Abubaker Shekau issued a video last week claiming responsibility for the abduction.

The failure of Nigerian authorities to rescue the school girls has forced other countries like the US and Britian to join in the search. Representatives from the two countries also attended Saturday's summit.

The French Defence ministry estimates that more than 1000 people have been killed by Boko Haram between January and March alone.

So far, France has ruled out putting boots on the ground, but says it expects a regional plan to take shape during the summit aimed at countering the islamist group.

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