AU mulls 7,500-stong force to fight Boko Haram Takfiris

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Rest of World
Friday, 30 January 2015

The African Union (AU) has endorsed a plan to create a joint regional task force with the aim of fighting the Boko Haram Takfiri group, which is wreaking havoc on Nigeria.

AU Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced that a five-nation force from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad as well as neighboring Benin are set to form the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to counter the terror threats posed by the Boko Haram Takfiri militants.

“Accordingly, it is recommended that the countries of the region be authorized to increase the strength of MNJTF to up to 7,500,” she said in a statement following the bloc's Peace and Security Council meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, late Thursday.

The Addis Ababa meeting was held ahead of another two-day annual AU summit, which is slated to kick off in the Ethiopian city later on Friday.

Dlamini-Zuma added that the joint force, with an initial mandate of one year, would be “conducting military operations to prevent the expansion of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups’ activities and eliminate their presence.”

The AU plan will subsequently be submitted to the United Nations Security Council for approval. The UN mandate could help draw international assistance for the African regional force.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.

The terrorist group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its operations in 2009, which have claimed lives of thousands of people.

According to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, the violence fueled by Boko Haram Takfiris forced 1.5 million people to flee their homes and killed over 10,000 people in 2014 alone.

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