UN Security Council nears text endorsing Boko Haram fight

AP News
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Posted: Mar 12, 2015 4:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Members of the U.N. Security Council are proposing that the international community supply money, equipment, troops and intelligence to a five-nation African force fighting Boko Haram.

African countries have put together the largest international effort yet to defeat Boko Haram after Nigeria's war against the Islamic extremists spilled beyond its borders. Alarm rose when Boko Haram over the weekend announced its allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group operating in Iraq and Syria.

A draft resolution obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday endorses the regional fight against Boko Haram and would authorize the use of force. Council member Chad has said it expects the resolution to be approved as early as next week.

Boko Haram killed an estimated 10,000 people last year, and it is blamed for last April's abduction of more than 275 schoolgirls.

The draft resolution demands the immediate release of anyone abducted by Boko Haram, which it calls "one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

The draft by the council's three African members, Chad, Nigeria and Angola, in negotiations with permanent members the United States, France and Britain, also threatens sanctions for people and groups that finance, support or arm Boko Haram.

The United States, Britain, France and the European Union are backing the formation of a multinational force of 8,750 troops led by Nigeria and Chad with contingents from Cameroon, Niger and Benin. Several other countries also have pledged to help.

The draft resolution does not say how much money the multinational force might be seeking from the international community, but calls on the U.N. secretary-general to establish a trust fund that can channel contributions ahead of a U.N.-supported donor conference planned for next month.

Boko Haram is waging a nearly 6-year insurgency to impose Muslim Shariah law in Nigeria. It began launching attacks across the border into Cameroon earlier this year, and then struck in Niger and Chad.

The new regional offensive against Boko Haram is meant in part to stabilize Nigeria before the March 28 election in which President Goodluck Jonathan is seeking another term.