News / Africa

In Paris, Calls for Unified Strike on Boko Haram

French President Francois Hollande, right, talks during the round table photo at the
French President Francois Hollande, right, talks during the round table photo at the "Paris' Security in Nigeria summit", at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, May 17, 2014.
VOA News
French President Francois Hollande says the Nigeria-based Boko Haram militant group has become a threat to all of West and Central Africa and a "comprehensive plan" must be established to fight it.

Hollande commented at a Saturday news conference in Paris following a meeting with his counterparts from Nigeria and its neighboring countries.

The meeting took place in the wake of the Islamist militant groups' kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian school girls last month. Nigerian officials say 276 of the girls are still missing.

'Comprehensive plan' needed
 
Boko Haram
 
  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
The French president said Boko Haram was an al-Qaida-linked group. He told the regional African leaders a comprehensive plan must be put in place to exchange information and coordinate activities.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed, saying "Boko Haram is no longer a local terrorist group." He said the militants were operating as "an al-Qaida of West Africa."

Jonathan said his government was committed to finding the missing school girls. He said 20,000 Nigerian troops had been deployed to northern Nigeria, where the abductions occurred.

Cameroon attack

Just hours before the leaders gathered in Paris, suspected Boko Haram militants launched an attack in a border region of neighboring Cameroon.  

Local officials say militants raided a Chinese workers' camp in the town of Waza, killing one person.

Investigators say 10 Chinese workers are missing and are believed to have been kidnapped by the suspected militants.

A witness told VOA about 200 gunmen arrived in a convoy of vehicles in Waza and began shooting.

Representatives from the EU, Britain and other Western powers attended the meeting in Paris.

UK ready to help

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his country is ready to offer Nigeria additional assistance. He said Britain had offered to embed military advisers with Nigerian military units.

Boko Haram has said it wants to establish a strict Islamist state in northern Nigeria.  The militant group has been blamed for thousands of deaths from bombings and shooting over the past five years.

The militants had recently released a video showing about 100 of the kidnapped girls who were seen wearing hijabs and reciting Islamic prayers. Most of the girls who were kidnapped were Christians.

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by: nikki from: reno
May 17, 2014 11:48 AM
It seems like the U.S is afraid to stand up to Islamic militants. If we do not help with the destuction of Boko Harem, it will eventually move out of Africa and move elsewhere. I dont believe we would want that to happen
Boko Harem is a world threat.,,,,,,,,

by: nikki from: reno
May 17, 2014 11:47 AM
It seems like the U.S is afraid to stand up to Islamic militants. If we do not help with the destuction of Boko Harem, it will eventually move out of Africa and move elsewhere. I dont believe we would want that to happen
Boko Harem is a world threat.,,,,,,,,
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
May 18, 2014 12:08 AM
Boko Harm will not be a threat to world. soon will be destroyed. no terrorist organization will live for ever .Osama bin laden was killed. Muslim brotherhood is disabled. it take times and people will understand the truth about Islam. their propaganda has failed because their vicious action will not intimidate people for ever. soon we will have another president like Gorge W Bush . it is over later or sooner

by: ali baba from: new york
May 17, 2014 10:07 AM
Boko Haram is member of international terrorism organization. they like octopus . once an arm removed ,another arm will replace it. they get a lot of money from Arab countries and Arab who live at Us and Europe . radical Muslim act and pretend that they peaceful and royal but their action explain otherwise. they give terrorism shelter. , they give them money . they are able to penetrate in media and they have lobby to influence the politician in Us . They are evil empire .it is very hard to remove it

by: Joseph
May 17, 2014 9:40 AM
It is sad, disappointing, and a shame that West African leaders have to wait for France to initiate a forum on boko haram, then they will go there for a photo session, spending millions of their countries money on lavish and expensive hotels while the helpless students are kept in forests bitten by snakes, mosquitoes and guns pointing at them 24/7. Where is ECOWAS and AU.
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