Tuesday 26 September 2017

Anti-Boko Haram plans finalised

Soldiers pass by on the back of an armed truck as they patrol at a local market after recent violence in surrounding areas at Maiduguri, Nigeria (AP)
Soldiers pass by on the back of an armed truck as they patrol at a local market after recent violence in surrounding areas at Maiduguri, Nigeria (AP)

African Union officials are finalising plans for a multi-national force to fight Nigeria's Boko Haram extremists - although questions remain about funding for the mission.

A UN official said senior officers from the UN peacekeeping department are attending the meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital.

The African Union last week authorised a 7,500-strong force from Nigeria and its four neighbours to fight the spreading Islamic uprising.

The official said the African nations want UN Security Council approval and money to fund the mission.

Hundreds of extremists driven out of a Nigerian stronghold by Chadian air raids are currently attacking a Cameroon border town.

While talks are ongoing, it has emerged that Boko Haram fighters have shot or burned to death dozens of civilians in a border town near Nigeria, Cameroon's government spokesman said.

Some 800 Islamic extremists attacking the town of Fotokol have "burned churches, mosques and villages and slaughtered youths who resisted joining them to fight Cameroonian forces," information minister Issa Tchiroma Bakari said.

The insurgents also looted livestock and food in the fighting, he said.

Boko Haram is using civilians as shields, making it difficult to confront them although reinforcements have arrived in Fotokol, according to military spokesman Col Didier Badjeck.

The fighters are believed to have crossed into Cameroon from nearby Gamboru, a Nigerian border town from where they were driven out by Chadian and Nigerian air strikes and ground troops earlier this week.

Press Association

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