Boko Haram World leaders gather in Nigeria for security summit

Regional and Western world leaders are gathering in Nigeria to discuss the war against Boko Haram.

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play Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. (Screen shot CNN)
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Regional and Western world leaders are gathering in Nigeria to discuss the war against Boko Haram.

Nigeria is seeking closer military cooperation to bring to an end nearly seven years of violence in the northeast.

The UN Security Council on Friday said the talks should help develop "a comprehensive strategy to address the governance, security, development, socio-economic and humanitarian dimensions of the crisis".

The BBC reports Boko Haram's seven-year insurgency has killed some 20,000 people, while more than two million have been displaced from their homes.

The group has established links with so-called Islamic State (IS), after pledging allegiance to it in 2015.

Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari is hosting counterparts from Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger for the gathering in Abuja, along with French President Francois Hollande, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Mr Blinken told the BBC he was concerned by reports that Boko Haram militants were going to Libya, where IS influence has grown in recent months.

After meeting President Buhari ahead of the summit, Mr Hollande praised Buhari and the regional countries for their co-ordination, adding that France provided "intelligence, information, training and equipment".

France and Nigeria recently signed an agreement on closer military cooperation, including intelligence sharing, and France is keen to help implement a regional solution to the conflict, given its close ties to some of its former colonies in the region, Al Jazeera reports.

The summit comes as Nigeria's military pushes deep into Boko Haram's Sambisa Forest stronghold after recapturing territory.

Former military ruler Buhari has vowed to defeat Boko Haram before the end of his first year in office.

The UK foreign secretary said Britain was training 1,000 Nigerian soldiers to attack Boko Haram strongholds in the north-east.

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