Foreign affairs experts say UK should assist Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram

A collection of former government ministers and generals have told the Independent that Britain should help provide military assistance to fight the militant group Boko Haram.

Today now marks exactly six months since 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists in northern Nigeria. However no real diplomatic or military step or progress have been made to secure their release, and Western attention has turned towards the crisis caused by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, who also carry out the kidnapping of young girls and women.

Now, experts in foreign affairs including former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP and Lord Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats have said that there is now a compelling argument for international intervention against Boko Haram. Amongst other people that have signed are the former Labour Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth and two former Africa ministers.

“Boko Haram and ISIS form a key part of a going, well-organised international terror network that poses a direct threat to UK national security. They must be stopped.

“There is more that needs to be done. We’re not talking boots on the ground but we should be thinking about helping the Nigerian armed forces with training, procurement and with analysing intelligence.”

The letter was organised as part of a campaign by Nigerian business groups who believe that international investment is being threatened by the current instability within the country. The letter calls for the creation of a Commonwealth-led military assistance programme for the Nigerian security forces, along with increased intelligence support and training for the Nigerian government and military.

Recently, it was reported that four of the schoolgirls had escaped by moving through the jungle for three weeks. On rescue the captives said they had been raped every day. And in Iraq, an ISIS propaganda magazine had boasted that it had enslaved women from an Iraqi minority group to use them as concubines.

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