Donors at the African Union summit pledged on Monday $250 million (229 million euros) for the fight against Boko Haram insurgents, AU Peace and Security Council chief Smail Chergui said. Boko Haram, facing the heat of a military onslaught in Nigeria, has in the past year stepped up cross-border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, while continuing shooting and suicide assaults on markets, mosques and other mostly civilian targets within Nigeria itself.
Despite offensives by the regional force with troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, the Islamist jihadists maintain strongholds in areas that are difficult to access. But Chergui praised the success of the force at the close of an AU summit on Sunday, saying territory had been wrested back. “Great results have been achieved and we must consolidate these gains,” he said.
Chergui said $110 million came from Nigeria, with the European Union offering 50 million euros, as well as donations from Britain and Switzerland. Chad’s President Idriss Deby, the African Union chairman, said it was crucial the money pledged was actually paid to show “our firm commitment in the fight against terrorism.”
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said gains had been made but much more needed to be done. “Boko Haram is no longer able to operate freely as in the past or control territories as they did,” he said. “We are making tremendous progress in this battle, but we still need to remain vigilant, we need to share information and cooperate.”