Nigeria and seven other African countries contributing troops to the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have agreed to set up a rapid intervention force to fight terrorist groups in Mali and other cross-border criminal organisations.
The countries, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo are also expected to strengthen the current capacity of the MINUSMA so that it could attain very quickly, the authorised contingents provided for in 2100 and 2164 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council to allow MINUSMA fulfill its mandate.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Aminu Wali said in a statement yesterday from the ministry of foreign affairs, Abuja that the decision was reached at the recent ministerial meeting of countries contributing to MINUSMA in Niamey, capital of Niger Republic.
The minister equally stated that the meeting resolved to strengthen regional cooperation in cross-border security between the Sahel-Saharan region countries with the establishment of effective operational mechanisms that can fight terrorism and organised crimes.
Also, member countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in cross-border security with Mali’s neighbours for exchange of information to fight terrorism and trafficking of any kind.
Convened at the instance of Niger Republic to assess the operational capacities of MINUSMA in view of its current mandate and the deteriorating security situation in northern Mali, the meeting also supported the international mediation under Algeria and thus encouraged the different parties in Mali to reach a peace agreement.
The statement explained that the African Union, European Union, Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) were some of the international organisations that graced the meeting, in addition to observer countries that include Algeria, China, Mauritania, France and United States of America.
Meanwhile,thirteen people died in Friday’s deadly bomb explosion in Azare town, Bauchi state, according to the Force Headquarters.
A twin explosion had occurred at the premises of the Azare branch of First Bank on Friday morning.
The bomb blast occurred at the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the bank and appeared to target customers, mostly civil servants, who were queuing to make withdrawals at around 9a.m.
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, 10 other people suffered various degrees of injuries in the bomb attack.
Mr. Ojukwu, a commissioner of police, also said detectives have begun investigation into the incident, with five suspects already in the net in connection with the unfortunate incident.
The identities of the suspects were however not disclosed.