DAKAR (Reuters) – France will step in to help coordinate a regional taskforce against Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram, amid signs of mistrust among West African neighbors, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks across much of Nigeria’s north ahead of presidential elections in February. Their operations have spilled over Nigeria’s borders into Niger to the north and Cameroon to the east, and stirred fears that Chad could be dragged into the conflict.
DAKAR (Reuters) – France’s defense minister on Monday called for Nigeria and its neighbors to set up a military liaison committee to better coordinate their response to the growing regional threat posed by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s Boko Haram fighters have stepped up their attacks across much of the country’s north in the past year, raiding villages, kidnapping children and seizing territory for their declared caliphate.
DAKAR (Reuters) – A joint United Nations-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping mission in Darfur is unlikely to bow to Sudan’s request to leave the region when the situation there appears to be worsening, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping forces said on Monday.
Sudan said last month it had asked UNAMID to prepare an exit plan, days after denying peacekeepers permission to pay a second visit to the site of alleged mass rapes by Sudanese soldiers in the Darfur village of Tabit.
DAKAR (Reuters) – Only a few of Rwanda’s FDLR rebels operating in eastern Congo have laid down their arms before a January deadline, meaning that U.N. troops will launch operations against the group next month, the U.N.’s peacekeeping chief said on Monday.
Herve Ladsous said that the U.N.’s Democratic Republic of Congo’s mission, MONUSCO, was also involved in an offensive to pick off the last remaining elements of Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist rebels, which also operate in Congo’s lawless east.
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.
DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations special envoy to the Sahel region said on Monday talks to resolve a crisis in Libya had stalled and warned several countries in the region risked being destabilized unless it was resolved quickly.
Hiroute Gebre Selassie said instability in the Sahel region south of the Sahara desert had worsened due to the fragile state of regional governments and expansion of Islamist militants.
PARIS (Reuters) – French forces in northern Mali have killed a senior commander of the al Mourabitoun Islamist group who was wanted by the United States, a defense ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
The United States had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Ahmed al Tilemsi, who took part in the 2011 kidnapping of two French nationals in Niger and three aid workers in Algeria later that year.
PARIS/NIAMEY (Reuters) – (Corrects location of press conference in par 3 to presidency)
Serge Lazarevic, a Frenchman who was kidnapped in northern Mali and was France’s last hostage abroad, has been freed after being held by al Qaeda’s North African wing for nearly three years.
PARIS/NIAMEY (Reuters) – Serge Lazarevic, a Frenchman who was kidnapped in northern Mali and was France’s last hostage abroad, has been freed after being held by al Qaeda’s North African wing for nearly three years.
The freeing of France’s last hostage is a boost for President Francois Hollande but questions linger over a reported prisoner exchange and a possible ransom payment that led to Lazarevic being freed by the Sahara-based group.
PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Friday it had agreed to put $60 million into a fund managed by the United States to compensate Holocaust victims deported by French state rail firm SNCF to Nazi death camps, a deal that protects it from future U.S. litigation.
About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died.