Paris Summit:Nigeria,Cameroun,Others declare war on Boko Haram

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Nigeria and its neighbours on Saturday vowed to work together to combat Boko Haram in what Cameroon President, Paul Biya, described as a declaration of war on the Islamic militants.

Meeting in Paris, President Goodluck Jonathan and his counterparts from Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger approved an action plan designed to counter the terrorist organization blamed for 2,000 deaths this year alone and abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls.

President Jonathan, while speaking at the event, defended his decision to cancel a visit to the town of Chibok from where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamist militants more than a month ago.

“What is of interest now is to locate the girls. The girls are not in Chibok,” he said. The last-minute cancellation of a visit to the town, ostensibly for security reasons, was widely criticised. “I will visit Chibok,” he said, but did not give a date.

Jonathan also dismissed criticism that the Nigerian response had been slow, saying the terror “only started in 2009 and we didn’t have the architecture to deal with that.”

“As we progress you will see that the Nigerian military will cope. Definitely we will overcome it,” he said, referring to the Boko Haram group. Just hours ahead of the summit, the Islamists carried out another brazen attack, this time killing one Chinese worker and kidnapping 10 others in Cameroon — underlining the regional threat posed by the group.

“We have seen what this organisation is capable of,” French President Francois Hollande said at the close of the half-day summit here. “They have threatened civilians, they have attacked schools and they have kidnapped citizens of many countries. France in particular has been a victim of it.

“When more than 200 young girls are being held in barbaric conditions with the prospect of being sold into slavery, there are no questions to be asked, only actions to be taken,” Hollande added.

The action plan would involve coordination of surveillance efforts, the sharing of intelligence and joint efforts to secure the porous borders in the region, Hollande said.

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