Niger troops sent to ‘crush’ Boko Haram in Nigeria

Parliament unanimously approves deployment of troops as part of a regional offensive against armed group.

Soldiers from Niger patrol in an open field in Gao, February 27, 2013.
A Niger MP says the resolution authorised the country to send some 750 troops to Nigeria [File - Reuters]

Niger’s parliament has voted unanimously to send troops to Nigeria to join a regional fight against the armed Boko Haram group.

The announcement late on Monday night came a day after a senior Nigerian official said Abuja’s government would “take out” all of the group’s camps by March 28 – the new date for the country’s elections which have been delayed by six weeks.

Niger, while housing thousands of refugees who fled from the conflict, had been mainly spared the violence until last week, with a number of attacks carried out on its territory in recent days.

“The pooling of the efforts and resources of concerned countries will contribute without doubt to crushing this group which shows scorn, through its barbaric acts, for the Muslim religion,” Niger National Assembly President Adamou Salifou said after the vote, according to the AFP news agency.

Another member of parliament said the resolution authorised the country to send some 750 troops to Nigeria.

On Monday, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuk, said the country’s general election will not be moved again and that all known camps belonging Boko Haram will be destroyed in the next six weeks.

“All known Boko Haram camps will be taken out. They won’t be there. They will be dismantled,” Dasuki said.

Opposition leader against postponement

The leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), former General Muhammadu Buhari, exclusively told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the elections should not have been postponed.

“There is no need for it [the delay],” he said.

INTERACTIVE: Boko Haram’s bloody legacy

“If the same military cannot secure 14 local governorates out of 774 in six years, how can they be sure they can secure those 14 in six weeks?”

On Saturday, Nigeria and its neighbours – Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin – agreed to muster 8,700 troops, police and civilians for a wider, African Union-backed force against Boko Haram.

Boko Haram fighters have been centred in northeastern Nigeria, where they have seized swathes of territory. The conflict has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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