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US at Niger's side in fight against extremism

10 July 2015, 09:46

Niamey - The United States is at Niger's side in the fight against extremism and Boko Haram, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday during a visit to Niger's capital.

Niger is part of a multinational force that has pushed the radical Islamic group from towns in neighbouring Nigeria, though attacks continue within Nigeria and across its borders.

"The Nigerien, Chad and Nigerian armies have obtained success against Boko Haram ... but that is not enough," Blinken said after a meeting with Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou. Boko Haram attacks must end, he said.

The US will help in the fight by providing training and weapons supplies, he said.

Also read: Niger army says it killed 15 Boko Haram militants

Since 2011, the US has invested $150m in equipment to the Nigerien army, he said. Recently the US has released $17m for training and equipment for Niger's army, and has promised $5m in equipment for the new multinational force, Blinken said.

"We must restore peace and security in the cities," he said, adding that jobs must also be created so that youth do not turn toward Boko Haram. He also encouraged free, credible and transparent 2016 elections in the country.

Blinken acknowledged working with Niger to help in Mali and in Libya as well.

Blinken's trip to Niger comes after a visit to Nigeria.

- AP


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