France's Hollande says ready to hold new summit on Boko Haram
YAOUNDE: French President Francois Hollande said on Friday he is ready to organise a new summit of nations fighting Boko Haram, a militant group that has suffered defeats in recent months in its campaign to forge an Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria.
Hollande was speaking after talks in the capital of Cameroon with President Paul Biya. Cameroon is part of a regional group of nations including Nigeria, Niger and Chad that began a campaign against Boko Haram this year.
"Nigeria and Cameroon need to have the best relations ... to work together. This corresponds well with the spirit we had at our last summit in Paris to take important decisions about Boko Haram, whose threat is getting stronger," Hollande said.
"I am ready to gather anew, as soon as the presidents give me a date, this conference so that we can better act together," Hollande said. The Paris summit was in May 2014.
Earlier this year, Boko Haram occupied large parts of northeastern Nigeria and was increasingly mounting attacks on neighbouring states, prompting the regional leaders into action to reverse gains made by the six-year insurgency.
Operations carried out by regional forces have pushed the militants from most of their positions and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to crush what remains of the group.
The militants have hit back and suspected insurgents attacked the outskirts of a state capital in northeastern Nigeria on Friday, escalating attacks after a week in which more than 150 people were killed.