AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
14 March, 2014
Cameroon vowed it would “never allow”
militants to use its territory to destabilise neighbour Nigeria, which is facing an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives, according to an official statement released on Friday.
Emmanuel Sadi Rene,minister of interior
and special envoy of Cameroonian
President Paul Biya, gave the pledge
when he delivered a message from his
leader to President Goodluck Jonathan in
the Nigerian capital of Abuja, it said. “He (Rene) also assured President Jonathan that the Cameroonian Government will never allow its territory to become a safe haven for terrorists or a base for the destabilisation of Nigeria,” said the statement from Jonathan’s office. Rene also conveyed Biya’s assurance that
Cameroon was committed to cooperating fully with Nigeria “to combat all forms of terrorism and cross-border criminality”.
Speaking during the meeting, Jonathan called for greater cooperation between
Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism. He said that Islamist Boko Haram and other groups that operate in border regions must be seen as a common threat to Nigeria and its neighbours. Countries should take urgent action to harmonise strategies and combine efforts to tackle the menace of Boko Haram and other groups which operate between their borders.
“The issue of Boko Haram remains
worrisome. If it is not properly handled, it could affect the security of neighbouring countries. “We therefore expect maximum cooperation from all countries within our region to rout the sect,” said Jonathan.
Nigeria has borders with Benin, Chad,
Niger and Cameroon and it is suspected
that insurgents have bases in some of
these countries. Earlier this month, Cameroonian soldiers tracked down a group of Boko Haram fighters who had crossed the border from Nigeria. Six insurgents and one soldier were killed.At the time of the incident, the Nigerian
Information Minister Labaran Maku said: “They (insurgents) strike. When we
pursue them, they retreat into Cameroon.”
Speaking at a news conference earlier on Friday, the UN rights chief, Navi Pillay,
said she has told Nigerian authorities to seek the cooperation of neighbours and
the international community. Pillay, on the last of the her three-day official visit to Nigeria, said after meeting a group of ministers, parliamentarians and rights groups that “the actions of Boko Haram have grown increasingly monstrous”.
“I suggested to the National Security Adviser that a regional approach to combat terrorism, resolve the conflict and alleviate the hardship of all civilians that are caught up may be an option worth exploring with neighbouring countries and the broader international community,” said Pillay.