No fewer than 750 troops from the Niger Republic are to be deployed in the North-East to assist in the ongoing efforts to end Boko Haram activities in the zone.
The Nigerien parliament approved the deployment on Monday night just as the United Nations assured Nigeria that it was firmly behind it in the fight against Boko Haram.
Niger Republic, which hosts hundreds of Nigerians who fled from the North-East, had as of last week witnessed a number of attacks by the islamist sect.
“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’s National Assembly President, Adamou Salifou, said .
Hours after Salifou spoke, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, raised concern over the activities of Boko Haram but said Nigeria should count on its support.
Ban’s Special Representative, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said in Abuja that the UN, through its Department of Peacekeeping, would ensure that the concept of operations and planning and other activities to ensure a truly joint operational force with a clear commanding control and unity of purpose succeeded.
“You can count on the strong support of the United Nations,” said Chambas.
He added that the global body was ready to assist Nigeria in the area of humanitarian support for displaced persons.
“The secretary-general expresses strong support in the fight against Boko Haram. The sect is not a threat only to Nigeria or the region but indeed is an international issue. It is an issue that requires full international support the same way the fight is taken against Al-Shabab, ISIS and AGNI in north Mali,” Chambas stated.
The UN has however noted in a new report by its human rights agency, that there are increasing attacks on schoolgirls.
According to the body, a study was carried out “seeking to analyse the problem of attacks against girls trying to access education.”
In the report yet to be published, the UN stated that schools in at least 70 countries were attacked between 2009 and 2014, with many specifically targeting girls, parents and teachers advocating for gender equality in education.
It said, “Attacks against girls accessing education persist and, alarmingly, appear in some countries to be occurring with increasing regularity.
“The educational rights of girls and women are often targeted due to the fact that they represent a challenge to existing gender and age-based systems of oppression.
“Among the examples are the murders in December 2014 of more than 100 children in a Pakistani Taliban attack at an army school in Peshawar, the abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls in April 2014 by the Boko Haram in Nigeria and the 2012 shooting of education activist Malala Yousafzai by members of the Taliban in Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, the police in Borno State have told journalists that a major disaster was averted by their men and soldiers who uncovered 147 cluster bombs in Auno, Konduga Local Government Area.
The state Commissioner of Police, Clement Adoda, said the security operatives sighted the explosives, recovered and destroyed them without injuries or damage to lives and property.
He said, “I am glad that on February 8, 2015, 147 unexploded cluster ordinances were recovered at about two Kilometres away from Auno village.”
Auno is only about 20 kilometres to Maiduguri.
But in Cameroon, Boko Haram abducted at least eight girls and killed seven hostages after seizing a public bus.
A Cameroonian resident, Chetima Ahmidou, said on Tuesday that the bodies of the seven victims were dumped near Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.
Ahmidou’s brother was the driver of the bus and was among those slain.
Ahmidou said that eight girls between the ages of 11 and 14 were taken back to Nigeria by the insurgents.[Punch]