News / Africa

Nigeria Seeks Help from Niger in Battle with Militants

x
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Nigeria has asked neighboring Niger for support in a week-old offensive against Islamist insurgent bases in its semi-desert frontier region, underlining moves towards West African cooperation against jihadis seen as a cross-border threat.
 
Concerns grew particularly after Islamist militants associated with al-Qaida seized the north of Mali last year and were dislodged only after French-led military intervention.
 
Nigeria declared a state of emergency in its northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa last week before unleashing forces on well-armed and determined Boko Haram militants. Nigeria claimed some early successes on Monday.
 
Nurudeen Muhammed, Nigeria's minister of state for foreign affairs, delivered the request for help from President Goodluck Jonathan to his Nigerien counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou late on Monday in Niamey.
 
“We currently have military operations under way in Nigeria in three federal states to combat terrorism and we would like to have Niger's support in the common fight against these terrorists,” Muhammed told Niger state television.
 
Military sources say Nigerian forces have faced stiff resistance by hardened Islamist rebels entrenched in the north and using cross-border routes to smuggle in weapons.
 
Nigeria and Niger signed a bilateral defense pact in October 2012 that includes sharing intelligence on Islamist groups and joint military exercises. The deal stipulates that a request for military aid by one nation cannot be refused by the other.
 
The two West African nations share a porous frontier of more than 1,500 km (940 miles). The fighting in Nigeria has pushed more than a thousand refugees across the border into Niger in the past few weeks, according to U.N. estimates.
 
Soldiers from Niger and neighboring Chad participated with Nigerian forces in a joint assault on Boko Haram fighters last month in Baga, a fishing settlement on the shores of Lake Chad.
 
Neighboring countries were alarmed last year when jihadi militants overran vast tracts of Mali's desert north, imposing a violent form of sharia (Islamic law) and establishing training camps, some of which trained Boko Haram operatives.
 
A lightning French offensive ousted the Islamists from northern Mali's towns but rural pockets of insurgents remain. France is now due to hand over to a U.N. peacekeeping force made up mostly of African troops, the bulk of them Nigerian.
 
A spokesman for Nigeria's military denied reports that its offensive against Boko Haram would force Abuja to pull some of its 1,200 troops out of Mali.
 
“The human and material resources of the Armed Forces of Nigeria are being meticulously deployed and quite able to meet its present internal and external assignments,” defense spokesman Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
 
“The normal and scheduled rotation of troops in various missions will continue,” he said.
 
Many analysts say, however, that the intensity of its domestic Islamist threat has forced West Africa's richest and most populous nation to withdraw from its traditional leading role in regional affairs.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid