France and five West African countries have agreed to launch trans-border military operations against Boko Haram. With the new plan, the countries can move across international borders in pursuit of the terrorist group.
The countries are Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Benin Republic and Republic of Chad.
On Saturday, at a world press conference after a meeting hosted by the French President, Francois Hollande, the leaders said the meeting was to centralise information and intelligence on the rescue of the schoolgirls.
Hollande said France would also collaborate with the United States and Britain on intelligence gathering.
Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, said 20,000 military personnel had been deployed to the North-East to search for the abducted schoolgirls.
He said, “From 2009 to date, it has been operating clearly as an al-Qeada organisation. It can better be described as an al-Qeada West and Central Africa.
“It is no longer the Boko Haram that came with the sentiment that Western education is prohibited; that women must not go to school and nobody should attend formal, Western-based institutions. It is no more operating under that guise.
“Presently, Nigeria has 20,000 troops in the north-eastern part of the country, where we have these terrorists. They are scanning the area with surveillance aircraft and local intelligence sources.”
Jonathan stated that with the collaboration with France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, the missing girls would be found.
Also, speaking, the Nigerien President, Mahamadou Issoufou, said the presidents were committed to bringing about regional mobilisation in the fight against the sect and to free the kidnapped girls.
The President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, said the meeting was to confirm the countries’ determination to “fight vigorously against Boko Haram.”
He said Boko Haram insurgency was not limited to Nigeria but the continent, adding that “we have to take a clear fight against Boko Haram.”
Biya stated that there was a strong determination to fight and declare a total war against the group, “which we will fight with all our strength.”
His Chadian counterpart, Idriss Deby, also said the meeting agreed to a face off with Boko Haram before it put the continent into a “total state of disorder and this chaos takes over.”
In his submission, the President, Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi, said the international community had not been sensitive enough to Boko Haram, which had been declared as a terrorist organisation long ago.
He said the meeting was to make the world know that the sect was an extremely dangerous movement adding that there was the need for nations to put their resources together to end the activities of the group.