By Prudence Arobani
The United Kingdom has called for international support for Nigeria in the fight against the resurgence of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Jonathan Allen, stated this at the Security Council briefing on the UN Office for Central Africa.
Allen raised concern about the humanitarian and security situation in the wider Lake Chad Basin, which continued to deteriorate, in addition to the crisis in Cameroon.
He said: “The United Kingdom has played its part in providing humanitarian support, as well as significant support particularly to assist the Nigerian security forces in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA).
”This matter needs the ongoing focus and support of the international community. The deteriorating security situation in northeast Nigeria is of particular concern, and one I note shared by the Secretary-General.
“ISWA has increased the frequency, range and sophistication of their attacks and has attacked forward operating military bases in North East Nigeria.
“The execution by ISWA of humanitarian workers such as Saifura Khorsa and Hauwa Liman, who were both abducted while providing antenatal care to communities in desperate need is a telling reminder of the brutality of ISWA’s activities”.
On Cameroon, Allen said the United Kingdom recognised the many positive contributions the country was making to stability in the region.
“However, we are concerned by the reality of the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
“In particular, we are concerned about high levels of displacement and take very seriously Reena Ghelani’s warning that this is now one of the fastest growing displacement crises in Africa and reports of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by armed separatist groups and Government forces.
”Including extra-judicial killings, other killings, abductions, restrictions of movement and access to health and education as described in the Secretary-General’s report.
“We must always be alert, colleagues, to the risk that the situation escalates, affecting the broader peace and stability of the Central African region, and we have already seen over 30,000 Cameroonians flee into Nigeria.
“If grievances are not addressed, tensions are likely to increase further,” Allen warned.
He said the UK welcomed Cameroonian President Paul Biya’s recent pledge to address the situation but that words alone would not improve things, adding that the UK strongly urges the Government of Cameroon to take urgent action.
The UK’s envoy said his country also called on the armed groups involved to cease their attacks on civilians, allow full humanitarian access, and access to human rights monitors, and to engage with the Government on these issues.
“The UK, for its part, is committed to supporting Cameroon and I am pleased to announce today that the United Kingdom is contributing $3.1 million to the UN’s response in the Anglophone regions – that’s equivalent to 20 per cent of this year’s flash appeal for the Anglophone crisis – to address immediate humanitarian and medical needs.
“We strongly encourage other Member States to fund this as an important part of the conflict prevention effort. Preventing a crisis costs significantly less than resolving one,” he said.
Allen said the UK had raised its concerns quietly so far and directly with the Government and was committed to working with the Government of Cameroon in every way it could to help resolve the situation.
“But I fear, unless action is taken and the situation improves, concern over the situation in Cameroon is likely to increase amongst Security Council Members and become a more prominent part of our discussions,” he said.