Africans mull joint action against Boko Haram

The Islamic militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria has reportedly begun attacking neighboring Cameroon.

The African Union plans this week to discuss a possible multinational force to combat the Nigeria-based Islamic jihadist group Boko Haram as the militants’ attacks are spilling over into Cameroon, BBC reports.

The Islamic militant group Boko Haram  in Nigeria has reportedly begun attacking neighboring Cameroon.

The Islamic militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria has reportedly begun attacking neighboring Cameroon.

Ghana’s President John Mahama said Friday he and other African leaders will talk about a way to “deal permanently” with the militants.

He said he wanted African Union countries to produce a “specific plan of action” collectively to fight the terrorists

“This has to end. We have to make this terror end,” he said.

Boko Haram has taken many towns and villages in northeast Nigeria in a six-year insurgency and has begun threatening Nigeria’s neighbors in an attempt to produce an Islamic caliphate.

“We must find a way to act together to share information, to synchronise our strategies, to pool our resources in order to rid the entire African continent of terrorism,” Mahama said, calling it a regional problem for African nations.

“We cannot stand by silently, idly waiting for the international community to intervene on our behalf.”

The most recent apparent Boko Haram attack came in the dark early Sunday, Jan. 18, during which dozens of people were kidnapped and four villagers killed.

The attackers reportedly fled toward Nigeria, and Nigerian officials told Reuters that some 30 adults and 50 children ages 10 to 15 were kidnapped.

Cameroon’s Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said between 30 and 50 were taken but an investigation is under way. “They burnt to ashes almost 80 houses,” he said.

Attacked were the villages of Maki and Mada in the Tourou district near Mokolo city in Cameroon’s Far North region, about four miles from Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s violence has been condemned by the United States, the United Nations and other nations. International aid organizations are working to help survivors. But international attention has been focused primarily on the terror attacks in Paris.

The jihadists first gained international attention and condemnation after they kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, in April.

Chad pledged troops to aid Cameroon after that country said it killed 143 of the jihadists during an attack on its military base Tuesday in Kolofata. A unit of Chadian troops reportedly arrived Sunday.

The French government has suggested Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, contribute 700 troops each to a multinational force, but little has come of that yet.

In related African Islamic news since Friday, at least 10 people have died and 45 churches, as well as bars and hotels, burned since protests began in Niger over the French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, police there say.

The protesters, some reportedly carrying Boko Haram flags, claimed the magazine was provocative in its cover cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad weeping while holding a sign saying “I am Charlie” following the killings at its office in Paris.

Protests also occurred in Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Algeria.

 

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