African states to seek U.N. mandate to fight Boko Haram


African nations threatened by Nigeria’s Boko Haram will seek U.N. Security Council authorisation for a multinational force to take on the Islamist militants, Niger’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Mohamed Bazoum said the countries of the Lake Chad region had agreed during a meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey on Tuesday that the resolution would be presented to the U.N. by the African Union. He did not specify when this would be done.

Boko Haram, which is fighting to create an Islamic emirate in northern Nigeria, has increasingly made incursions into neighbouring Cameroon and is also threatening the stability of the region that includes Niger and Chad.

Mistrust and disagreements between the states has however hampered attempts to pool military resources. The countries had agreed to create a multinational force to tackle the insurgents by last November but failed to contribute the troops.
“Contrary to what happened in the past, we agreed with our partners that a resolution should passed by the Security Council that will allow the establishment of the Joint Multinational Force,” Bazoum told a television channel in Niamey.

The countries also agreed to move the headquarters of the proposed multinational force from the Nigerian town of Baga to the Chadian capital N’Djamena after Baga was seized and ransacked by Boko Haram fighters, he said.