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Nigeria’s neighbours move against Islamic militants

By News Express on 06/03/2016

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Defence ministers from West Africa’s arid Sahel region have agreed to work together to establish special rapid reaction forces to counter the growing threat from al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked militants.

Najim Mohamed, the G5 Sahel’s Permanent Secretary, said on Saturday that following the meeting late on Friday in N’Djamena, the defence chiefs from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania, the G5 Sahel countries, pledged to form special units to respond quickly to threats and attacks from Islamist militants.

He said the groups, each composed of around 100 well-trained and very mobile men, would deploy in zones where the terrorists operated.

Mohamed said the units, tailored after Spanish forces used against the Basque separatist group ETA, would receive training and support from both Spain and France.

He said the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has during a visit to the region last month, promised to boost assistance to the Sahel countries in the wake of dramatic attacks on hotels in Burkina Faso and Mali claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Mohamed said intelligence would be compiled at a threat analysis and early warning centre to be established in Mauritania, where the Sahel group also plans to create a special war college.

He said the financing was expected to come from European Union funding already pledged to the Sahel nations.

Mohamed said the G5 Sahel heads of state already called for the creation of a multinational force last year.

French forces intervened in 2013 to drive back Islamist fighters after they seized Mali's desert north a year earlier, citing concern that the area could become a launching pad for attacks on targets in Europe.

However, the militants have since reorganised and launched a wave of attacks against local security forces, UN peacekeepers and civilian targets that has extended well beyond northern Mali and into neighbouring countries.

He, however said the Boko Haram, which has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State, was stepping up raids and suicide bombings in the Lake Chad region, which straddles the borders between Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. (Reuters/NAN)

•Photo shows Al Qaida terrorists.

Source News Express

Posted 06/03/2016 05:23:02 AM

 

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