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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid