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Feb 19, 2015

Nigerian planes bomb Boko Haram camps, military says

DJAMENA/MAIDUGURI, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Nigerian warplanes
bombed training camps and equipment belonging to Islamist group
Boko Haram in the northeast’s Sambisa forest on Thursday, the
military said, adding momentum to an assault meant to crush the
rebels also involving neighbours Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

“The death of a large number of terrorists has been recorded
while many others are also scampering all over the forest,”
defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said, later
adding that an attack was underway on parts of Gwoza, the town
where Boko Haram first declared an Islamic state last year.

Feb 19, 2015

African allies aim to pin down Boko Haram, official says

DJAMENA, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Niger, Chad and Cameroon are
seeking to pin down Boko Haram within Nigeria’s borders ahead of
a ground-and-air offensive by a regional task-force due to start
from the end of next month, a senior Niger military official
told Reuters.

The Islamist group, which has killed thousands of people in
a six-year insurgency in Nigeria, has fought fierce battles with
the three countries’ armies in southern Niger and northern
Cameroon, near Nigeria’s borders, in recent weeks.

Feb 18, 2015

U.S. army to provide equipment, intelligence to fight Boko Haram

DJAMENA (Reuters) – The U.S. military will share communications equipment and intelligence with African allies to assist them in the fight against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, the commander of U.S. Special Forces operations in Africa said.

West African military commanders have long complained that cross-border operations against Islamist groups, from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali to Boko Haram in Nigeria, have been obstructed by lack of compatible communications equipment, making it hard to swap information and coordinate.

Feb 17, 2015

Interview – U.S. army to provide equipment, intelligence to fight Boko Haram

DJAMENA (Reuters) – The United States military will provide communications equipment and intelligence to help African nations in the fight against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, the commander of U.S. Special Forces operations in Africa said.

West African military commanders have long complained that cross-border operations against Islamist groups, from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali to Boko Haram in Nigeria, have been obstructed by lack of compatible communications equipment, making it hard to swap information and coordinate.

Feb 16, 2015

Chad begins U.S.-backed military exercise as warm-up for Boko Haram

DJAMENA, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Chad launched a U.S.-backed
counter-terrorism exercise on Monday with 1,300 soldiers from 28
African and Western countries, billing it as a warm-up for an
offensive against Nigeria’s Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram.

The “Flintlock” manoeuvres unfolded as Chad and four
neighbouring states prepare a task force to take on Boko Haram,
the biggest security threat to Africa’s top oil producer Nigeria
and an increasing concern to countries bordering it.

Jan 30, 2015

Africa looks to extend new disaster insurance to Ebola-like epidemics

DAKAR (Reuters) – African countries want to extend a new catastrophe insurance fund, which made its first payout of $25 million this month, to include protection against epidemics in the wake of the devastating Ebola outbreak.

The African Risk Capacity (ARC) agency, a specialized body of the African Union, launched a scheme last year to insure against natural disasters. It is an effort to break Africa’s reliance on foreign aid and address the impact of climate change by using innovative financial techniques.

Jan 15, 2015

African states must overcome distrust for Boko Haram force to work – U.N.

DAKAR, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The four African nations most
threatened by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram must put aside
mutual distrust and agree on a command structure and strategy
for a fledgling regional force if they want to defeat the
militants, a top U.N. official said.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West
Africa, said the international community could only help Nigeria
and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon once they clearly laid
out the assets they lacked to fight Boko Haram.

Dec 15, 2014

France urges African nations to take charge of their security

DAKAR (Reuters) – France urged African nations on Monday to step up cross-border cooperation to tackle security challenges from Islamist groups in southern Libya to Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, as it seeks to scale back its military commitments on the continent.

Amid budgetary pressures at home, France is looking to reduce security commitments in Africa. It is scaling back the 2,000 troops it deployed a year ago to curb Christian-Muslim violence in Central African Republic, a former colony.

Dec 1, 2014

Ukraine urges greater military aid from Europe, U.S.: minister

DAKAR (Reuters) – Ukraine’s foreign minister urged Europe and the United States to begin supplying arms to his country, saying it would help deter pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern provinces and restore peace.

Pavlo Klimkin said that, although a ceasefire deal agreed in Minsk in September with Russia and rebels was being violated daily, it remained the best blueprint for ending violence in which more than 4,300 people have died since mid-April.

Nov 14, 2014

Exclusive: MSF should have called for Ebola vaccine earlier, says aid group veteran

DAKAR/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Medecins Sans Frontiers “wasted time” by waiting too long to call for vaccines to fight an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, a veteran of the medical charity told Reuters.

The group’s response to the epidemic which has so far killed more than 5,000 people has been widely praised by governments and the World Health Organization. While Western donors dithered and other aid groups pulled out, MSF deployed hundreds to the Ebola “hot zones” and treated more than 3,000 patients.