THE Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) yesterday in Addis Ababa condemned activities of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.
And for the first time, the PSC has urged international support for the current effort at stemming the tide of the insurgency group in Nigeria.
At a joint world press conference after its meeting, the AU Commissioner for the PSC, Ramtane Lamamra, said all other flashpoints on the continent deserved urgent attention in order to restore the dignity of the lives being traumatised by terrorist activities.
Presenting three communiqués on Mali, Guinea Bissau, Sudan and South Sudan, Lamamra confirmed that the leaders were seeking the UN Security Council support for military intervention in Mali, to end the rebellion in the north and reunite the Sahel state, which was split after a March 22 military coup in the capital, Bamako.
The Security Council had endorsed the West African efforts to end the unrest in Mali, but stopped short of backing a military operation until African leaders could clearly spell out its objectives and how it would be carried out.
Denouncing alleged links between al-Qaeda in the Sahel region and other violent radical Islamist groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Somalia, Chairman of the Council and President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, said the situation in Nigeria posed “a serious threat to regional security.”
Ouattara, who flanked Lamamra, roundly condemned what he called “the intention of terrorist groups to create a sanctuary in northern Mali.” The Ivorien leader is chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Lamamra also said that, “Boko Haram poses a threat to regional peace and security. I appeal to the international community to render assistance in putting an end to this problem.”
On Mali, she said the interaction between ECOWAS and the Security Council was on-going. “Council calls for the finalisation of the list of individuals and actors in implementing a peace programme to pave way for the lifting of sanctions on Mali,” she said.
“Council welcomes the dispatch of a technical team to Bamako. But Council wants the human rights situation in Mali investigated.”
Lamamra also confirmed last night that Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, met at the summit behind closed doors, to revive faltering talks.
The neighbours came close to war in April after they clashed over undefined borders and the sharing out of oil revenues.
Meanwhile The Guardian has gathered about a high possibility of the emergence of a compromise candidate to break the deadlock in the jostle for the position of the chairperson of the AU.
“It’s hard to get to the truth of this,” lamented Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs, Henry Okello.
Confident that the AU meeting could finally choose a new commission, he, however, stressed that “it should be a person that does not polarise.”