French President François Hollande offered on Sunday to host a summit in Paris with Nigeria and its neighbouring countries focused on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which abducted more than 200 schoolgirls last month.
Global outrage over the mass kidnapping has focused attention on the group, which has destabilised large parts of northeast Nigeria and its neighbours.
“With Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, I have proposed to hold a meeting with the countries bordering Nigeria,” Hollande said during a visit to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.
“If the countries agree, it should take place next Saturday”, Hollande added. His aides said that the leaders of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger might attend the summit. Britain, the European Union and the United States would likely be represented as well.
France, Britain, the United States and other countries have said they were sending experts to help Nigeria find and rescue the schoolgirls.
Nigeria’s army has mobilised two divisions to search for the girls, as Jonathan’s government has faced criticism for not responding more quickly to the abductions.
A French priest was released in December after being kidnapped the previous month in northern Cameroon, a region where Boko Haram is known to operate. The group also kidnapped a French family of seven on holiday in northern Cameroon in February 2013, before releasing them the following April.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-05-11