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Nigeria seeks help from neighbours in Boko Haram fight

03 June 2015, 20:32

Niamey - Muhammadu Buhari said during a visit to Niger's capital Wednesday that he was seeking help from neighbouring countries to eradicate the Islamist group Boko Haram before they do "more serious damage".

"I'm coming to seek the support of our neighbours. I came first to Niger, tomorrow I will go to N'Djamena and I will also talk with the president of Cameroon, to seek out ways and means to reinforce our efforts," said the recently-elected president during his first official trip abroad.

Also read: Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri kills 20

Both Niger and Chad have common borders near the centre of the violent Boko Haram insurrection in northeastern Nigeria, which has led to more than 15,000 deaths since 2009.

"With our neighbours, we will see how to deal with Boko Haram before they commit more serious damage," Buhari said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mahamadou Issoufou.

In terms of military strategy, Buhari said that the Nigerian military must gain the advantage by approaching the "theatre of conflict".

The president also spoke about the upcoming summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, where leaders from Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Benin will meet to discuss how to fight against the violent Islamist group.

Former president Goodluck Jonathan's administration had long complained that Nigeria's neighbours were not doing enough to contain Boko Haram as they fled military pursuit by crossing porous borders.

But Chadian President Idriss Deby also criticised Jonathan for his lack of coordination in the fight against the Islamist extremists and called multiple times for more regional cooperation.

Buhari, who was sworn in Friday, has made the fight against Boko Haram the priority of his presidency.



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