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UN Security Council begins Africa trip to assess Boko Haram threat

The UN Security Council has begun a visit to highlight Africa's worst humanitarian crisis as millions face hunger amid the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

One question in the aid response is the United States, which pledged no funding for the Nigeria crisis at an international conference in Oslo last week.

The US is the world's largest humanitarian donor, but US officials have said the Trump administration is proposing a 37% cut to diplomacy and foreign aid budgets to help pay for increased military spending.

The United Nations has launched a 4 billion US dollar (£3.3 billion) aid appeal to respond not only to the Nigeria crisis but similar ones in South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

It was not clear how much the US has pledged for that new appeal.

On Friday, the Security Council members were in Cameroon for meetings with top officials and an encounter with the multinational force that has been fighting the Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists.

Council members also planned to go to Chad and Niger, then on to Nigeria, where they are expected to visit a camp in the north for people displaced by Boko Haram.

On Friday, officials said three suicide bombers killed themselves and set fuel tankers ablaze in Maiduguri city, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the centre of Nigeria's military efforts to counter the group.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram's seven-year uprising has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes. Now the group has moved into neighbouring countries.

At the Oslo conference, UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said 14 countries had pledged 672 million dollars (£550 million) over the next three years to prevent a famine in the four African countries around the Lake Chad basin.

AP

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