The European Commission and the African Union Commission on Monday signed an agreement on a 50 million-euro support from the European Union's African Peace Facility to the Lake Chad Basin Commission Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in its fight against Boko Haram, as mandated by the AU Peace and Security Council.

According to a joint communique, issued simultaneously in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Brussels, Belgium, the agreement comes at a time of renewed efforts by the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin to eliminate the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group and create conditions for the rehabilitation of the affected areas and people.

"We commend the countries of the region for the progress made over the past months in ensuring a coordinated regional response through the MNJTF. The agreement we have signed today will further strengthen the regional coordination of the response," said the statement that was signed by Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative and Vice President; Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development; and Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.

The support will allow for the construction and maintenance of MNJTF headquarters in Ndjamena, Chad, as well as of sector headquarters in Cameroon and Niger, besides providing transport and communication assets to the force headquarters, allowing for effective coordination and command of military operations.

These assets, including vehicles, aerial transportation and reconnaissance capacities and a command, control, communication and information system, will put the central command in a position to coordinate operations among troop contributing countries in their respective territories.

"The scope is to prevent Boko Haram's ability to move across borders when fighting uncoordinated bilateral operations," the communique pointed out.

In addition, the AU and the EU reiterated their "strong mutual engagement to contribute to restore a safe and secure environment to the civilian population in the areas affected by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups."

Boko Haram attacks against the population have severely affected the north-east of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

More than 13,000 people have been killed, 2.5 million people have been internally displaced, and an estimated 250,000 people fled to neighbouring countries. The escalation of violence has disrupted regional agricultural production and unsettled local markets, causing increasing malnutrition.


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