Leaders of Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, along with French President Francois Hollande, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, gathered in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Saturday to discuss ways of combating a nearly seven-year insurgency by the extremist group Boko Haram.
Also invited were delegations from West African and Central African blocs, and the European Union.
Hollande’s presence at the summit reflects Paris’ traditional interest in its former colonies surrounding Nigeria. France and Nigeria recently signed an agreement on closer military cooperation.
Some 20,000 people have died and 2.1 million have been made homeless in the insurgency by the radical group, which is trying to set up an Islamic state in the region.
The summit is the second such high-level gathering following a first meeting in Paris two years ago to discuss strategies against the group. READ MORE