Could Boko Haram become Russia’s next target?

Published November 1st, 2015 - 08:49 GMT

A Russian military intervention in West Africa against Boko Haram as part of a counter-terrorism operation remains "hypothetical", according to the French Foreign Ministry.

Following a meeting between Russia’s Ambassador to Niger, Alexey Doulouy, and Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou last Monday in capital Niamey, media reports suggested that Russian forces are possibly going to intervene against the terrorist group.

French diplomatic sources told Anadou Agency on Friday that the meeting is a "statement of Russia’s support for the actions of regional countries against terrorism”.

The foreign ministry source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that it would be "premature" to discuss a Russian intervention, but that France welcomes "any counter-terrorism operations against Boko Haram”.

France "calls on the international community to mobilize [against Boko Haram]", the source said, adding that the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, adopted a statement in July 2015 calling on world powers to support military efforts against the group in the region.

Boko Haram, which has reportedly pledged allegiance to the Daesh militant group and now wants to be called the “Islamic State’s West Africa Province” is known to have conducted several cross-border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon in recent months.

A Lake Chad Basin Commission -- which includes Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin -- agreed this July to bring the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF)’s total troop strength up to some 10,500 in fight against the group.

Boko Haram has been responsible for more than 15,000 deaths since 2009 and has kidnapped thousands of women and children.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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