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Cameroon President Calls for Greater Help to Fight Boko Haram

FILE - Cameroon's President Paul Biya addresses reporters following his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elyse Palace in Paris, Jan 30, 2013.

Cameroon is calling for international support and a coordinated response against Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. Cameroon's President Paul Biya appealed to the diplomatic community after the release of a Boko Haram video message threatening his country.

During a meeting Thursday with diplomats serving in his country, Cameroonian President Paul Biya said a key agreement for Nigeria's neighbors to set up a regional force to coordinate the fight against Boko Haram has not been implemented.

He said the international community should have mobilized to fight terrorism that he described as a threat to peace and stability in all countries of the world.

Biya said the African Union and other international organizations should have proposed a global response to this global terrorism threat. He added the distance that separated a country from the conflict zone was not a sign of safety. He said jihadist and Boko Haram terrorism could only be dealt with by handling the issue globally and from an international perspective.

Boko Haram began its violent insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria. The group has killed thousands since then, and last year seized control of territory in Nigeria's Borno and Adamawa states.

Cameroon shares a boundary with Borno, and soldiers have clashed with Boko Haram militants along the border.

Cameroon has gradually built up its forces in the border region and last month President Biya ordered his air force to attack the militant group for the first time. That provoked Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, to threaten Cameroon with the same fate that has befallen Nigeria.

Algeria's ambassador to Cameroon, Toufik Milat, described the threat as "empty."

He said Cameroon should not feel that it has been abandoned in its fight against Boko Haram, because terrorism doid not know any frontiers and needs international solidarity to defeat it. He added that Cameroon should not bow to empty threats or give the terrorist group any breathing space because it had so far fought with determination and success.

President Biya has vowed to go after the group until it is totally wiped out. But the war is taking a huge toll on Cameroon's economy, especially in the north, which relies on Nigeria for 80 percent of its basic necessities and as a market for agricultural products that are now stockpiling.

Biya told the diplomats he appreciated the assistance of the United Nations, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia, and the United States, but he did not specify the type of assistance Cameroon has received.