UN urges stepped up regional operations against Boko Haram

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday urged immediate stepped up regional military coordination and operations to more effectively combat the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria and neighboring countries.

The council reiterated its “deep concern” in a statement that Boko Haram is “undermining the peace and stability of the West and Central African region.”

Council members condemned the escalating attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and against Chadian army soldiers deployed to fight the terrorist group in Cameroon.

The council singled out the Islamic extremist group’s recent attacks on Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria, in Borno State and in the Lake Chad Basin region including against the Chadian army.

The council commended the Chadian army’s swift assistance in the fight against Boko Haram in Cameroon, “during which 123 Boko Haram combatants were neutralized and others were captured.” It also noted an operation on Jan. 29-30 near the Cameroon border town of Fotokol in which four Chadian soldiers were killed and 12 injured.

African leaders at a summit Saturday authorized the creation of a 7,500-strong multinational force to fight Boko Haram.

Boko Haram warned against the coalition force and said it will attack Niger, if it sends troops, just as it has attacked Cameroon, according to a message posted Sunday by the SITE intelligence monitoring service.