YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — French President Francois Hollande promised intensified military cooperation with Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram during a visit to the West African country on Friday.
Hollande also called for international support to stop the Nigerian-based Islamic extremist group whose violence has crossed into neighboring countries, including Cameroon.
“I am calling on the international community to help support Cameroon that has thousands of refugees with growing humanitarian problems. I will make sure military cooperation intensifies to stop the terrorist group,” he said at a press conference in Yaounde, Cameroon.
France will provide training, research and information from its intelligent services on Boko Haram plans to Cameroon, he said.
Cameroon already receives military support from France, Cameroon’s government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said.
Boko Haram has waged a six-year insurgency seeking to create an Islamic caliphate.
Cameroon is part of a multinational force that this year forced Boko Haram out of communities in northeast Nigeria. In recent months, militants have stepped up hit-and-run attacks in neighboring countries.
France has a big air base in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, which is helping lead the force. N’Djamena lies on the eastern edge of Cameroon’s panhandle, near the conflict zone.
Cameroon President Paul Biya said Boko Haram continues to be a threat to his country’s development causing untold sufferings, killings and rapings.
“Please, we are doing our best, but we need the international community’s support,” Biya said at the press conference with Hollande before their meeting.
Cameroon, a former French colony, is Hollande’s final stop on a two-day visit to Africa which started in Benin on Thursday. He then traveled to Angola before landing in Cameroon Friday.
Hollande leaves Cameroon late Friday.