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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Journaliste: Cameroon Tribune

Action is now!

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As we write these lines, it is not impossible to hear that there has been an attack, simply seen from the regularity of attacks by Boko Haram in the past few weeks. The obnoxious group can attack just about anywhere or everywhere.

The brotherly nation of Chad was the first African country to hearken to President Paul Biya’s call for a global response to the Boko Haram threat in a speech made when he received New Year wishes from the diplomatic corps on January 8, 2015.

Chad expeditiously sent in the first consignment of troops late last month followed by a marked impetus in results because of the hot pursuit possibility given to Chadian troops by the Nigerian government which enabled the said troops to follow the Boko Haram as far as possible.

But what initially was seen as a coming military defeat was quickly reversed with the extremists hitting right into Chadian territory. They even carried the attacks into neighbouring Niger Republic; turning the strife into a veritable international-scale war involving the four nations.

Chad and Cameroon happen to be members of the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS which operates a mechanism which ensures that the body runs to the rescue of any member state attacked.

The summit opening this morning in Yaounde and grouping Heads of State or their representatives from the ten-member ECCAS is a vindication of this desire to assist any member whenever in need.

Times are particularly hard especially as each passing day Boko Haram is revealing new perilous postures and expanding its tentacles beyond Nigeria, its initial operational area.

If within Nigeria its desire has been to see the establishment of an extremist and fanatical kind of Islam which excludes formal western-type education and seeks to enslave girls, there is reason to wonder why the sect has so often threatened to extend its influence to Cameroon and, now, Chad and Niger.

For Nigeria, it is an internal policy issue, but for these other countries there is obvious doubt as to the real intentions of the sect if it is not outright destabilization.

And when one talks of destabilization, there is every reason to regroup and unite efforts because of the vast contagion potential of the infamous sect.

The Yaounde summit is also coming as a vindication of the desire of Heads of State of ECCAS to get into higher gear by activating all the legal instruments of the pertinent sections of the Peace and Security Council of Central Africa, COPAX.

The summit is not a sudden initiative. It is also informed by the need to make the best use out of the Mutual Assistance Pact between the countries of the ECCAS realm.

This extraordinary summit of ECCAS Heads of State is also an expression of the seriousness with which the community would henceforth want to tackle its issues, notably those dealing with security.

Otherwise, these matters could also have been shifted to the next ordinary session of the conference of ECCAS Heads of State due to hold in Ndjamena, Chad in the second half of March this year.

This business-like posture of the leaders of the region tells of the shared concerns of all the leaders and the real dangers posed by Boko Haram which seems bent on extending its dangerous influence well beyond the confines of its present-day area of operation.

The situation really calls for immediate action and, happily, many of those attending today’s summit are fully aware of the urgency of each and every file under examination.

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