Benin Joins Fight Against Boko Haram
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Benin’s president vowed to contribute 800 troops to a regional force to combat the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
Thomas Boni Yayi made the announcement in August 2015 during a visit from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that coincided with Benin’s independence celebration.
“This is an opportunity for Benin to express solidarity with countries on the front line against the Islamic sect, Boko Haram,” Boni Yayi said. “This solidarity will result in the sending of a contingent of 800 men from Benin’s Army.”
At a meeting in Cameroon in February 2015, Nigeria and a group of neighboring countries that includes Cameroon, Chad and Niger agreed to deploy about 8,700 troops.
The 6-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven nearly 2.2 million from their homes. Multinational troops earlier this year forced the extremists out of towns they had held, but Nigerian politicians say Boko Haram began seizing territory again late in 2015.
The uprising has taken on a regional dimension with regular attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Boko Haram became an affiliate of the Islamic State group in April 2015. In a separate event in August 2015, Guinean President Alpha Condé pledged his country’s assistance in the regional fight.