African nations pulling together a regional force to fight Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants on Saturday pledged 8,700 soldiers, policemen and civilians, the latest figure is an increase from earlier estimates for the mission. Reuters have more:
The African Union had previously authorized a force of 7,500 troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin to take on the Islamists, who have seized large swathes of northeastern Nigeria and mounted attacks on neighboring nations. Nigeria’s military is struggling against the five-year insurgency, which has killed thousands of Nigerians and displaced some 1.5 million people.
With Nigeria also trying to organize elections and the militant threat turning increasingly regional, diplomats have said neighboring nations must bury mutual mistrust and join the fight to defeat the militants.
The new troop pledges came after three days of talks in Cameroon between experts from the nations of the Lake Chad basin, the region where Boko Haram is seeking to create an Islamist enclave.