News / Africa

    France Sends Agents to Nigeria, Boosts Ties to Fight Boko Haram

    A woman attends a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.
    A woman attends a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.
    Reuters
    France said on Wednesday it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram after more than 200 girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group.
     
    President Francois Hollande's office said after he spoke by telephone with Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan that Paris would dispatch a specialized team in the coming hours to Abuja to help find the girls.
     
    With more than 4,000 troops operating between Mali to the west and Central African Republic to the east, Paris has a major interest in preventing Nigeria's security from deteriorating and has voiced concern Boko Haram could spread north into the Sahel.
     
    Having ousted al-Qaida-linked militants from Mali last year, France is planning to redeploy its forces across West Africa this summer to target Islamist groups taking advantage of porous borders between southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger.
     
    “The president expressed his desire to increase intelligence cooperation with Nigeria, involving all regional countries, so that this terrorist group can no longer carry out such acts,” a statement on the telephone conversation said.
     
    Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers, “in the face of such ignominy, France must react. This crime cannot be left unpunished.”
     
    Around 10 experts from the external DGSE intelligence service with satellite observation knowledge would first be sent to join United States and British teams, official sources said.
     
    Demanding an Islamic state, Boko Haram has been fighting in the northeast for the past five years. It attracted global attention last month with the abduction of girls taking exams in the village of Chibok, also in the south of Borno state.
     
    French targets

    Underscoring how far Nigerian security forces are from protecting civilians in the region, the group launched an attack that killed at least 125 people, police said on Wednesday after gunmen rampaged through a town in the northeast, near the Cameroon border.
     
    Hollande, during a February trip to Abuja, promised to help fight them, saying Nigeria's struggle was also that of France.
     
    “This may be the catalyst the international community needs to fight Boko Haram,” a French diplomat said.
     
    French interests have already been targeted by Boko Haram.
     
    Last November, the group kidnapped a French priest and held him for a month. Earlier last year, in mid-February, they snatched a French family of seven on holiday in northern Cameroon and held them for two months.
     
    Hollande at the time denied a ransom had been paid for the family, but a confidential Nigerian government report seen by Reuters said Boko Haram was given the equivalent of $3.15 million by French and Cameroonian negotiators.
     
    The kidnappings were among a series of attacks on French targets in West Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January 2013 to oust al-Qaida Islamists who had forged links with Boko Haram.
     
    Nigeria has complained that the far northern region of Cameroon is being used by Boko Haram militants to transport weapons and hide from a six-month military offensive against them. It has appealed to Cameroon to tighten border security.
     
    Officials in Niger, where France has based surveillance drones, have also voiced concern about infiltration by Boko Haram across the country's southern border.
     
    “We're already at the forefront of the fight against terrorists in the Sahel and with borders so easy to cross these groups are linked,” the diplomat said. “We have knowledge in neighboring countries that can help.”

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.