Lead­ers to hold Boko Haram sum­mit April 8

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Lead­ers of Cen­tral and West African states will hold a sum­mit next week to try to draw up a joint strat­egy against Nige­ria’s Boko Haram mil­i­tants, a state­ment from or­ga­niz­ers said Sun­day.

The April 8 sum­mit will be the first of its kind since Nige­ria’s elec­tion a week ago which was won by Muham­madu Buhari, a for­mer mil­i­tary leader who has vowed to rid his coun­try of the “ter­ror” of Boko Haram.

“In the face of the mount­ing and in­creas­ingly bloody at­tacks by the fun­da­men­tal­ists against Nige­ria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad and the se­ries con­se­quences for th­ese coun­tries, and the real risk of desta­bi­liz- ing west­ern and cen­tral Africa, the two or­ga­ni­za­tions have de­cided to take ac­tion,” a state­ment from re­gional bloc ECOWAS said.

A coali­tion in­volv­ing troops from the four coun­tries has been wag­ing of­fen­sives against the Is­lamists in a bid to crush the in­sur­gency, which has now spread across bor­ders from Boko Haram’s strong­hold in Nige­ria.

The meet­ing in Mal­abo, cap­i­tal of Equa­to­rial Guinea, is be­ing jointly or­ga­nized by the Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity of Cen­tral African States (EC­CAS).

It was not im­me­di­ately clear if Buhari would be at­tend­ing as he will not be sworn in as pres­i­dent to suc­ceed in­cum­bent Good­luck Jonathan un­til May 29.

The Boko Haram in­sur­gency has led to the deaths of more than 15,000 peo­ple dead since 2009, U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein said last week.

“Count­less more chil­dren, women and men have been ab­ducted, abused and forcibly re­cruited, and women and girls have been tar­geted for par­tic­u­larly hor­rific abuse, in­clud­ing sex­ual en­slave­ment,” he told the

“This de­spi­ca­ble and wan­ton car­nage, which con­sti­tutes a clear and ur­gent men­ace for devel­op­ment, peace and se­cu­rity, must be stopped,” Zeid said.

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