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UN urges more action on Boko Haram


Rescue workers at the site of a Boko Haram bomb attack at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (AP)

Rescue workers at the site of a Boko Haram bomb attack at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (AP)

Rescue workers at the site of a Boko Haram bomb attack at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (AP)

The UN Security Council has called for stepped-up action in Africa against extremist groups Boko Haram and the Lord's Resistance Army.

The council warned that the security situation in parts of the Central African region is "grave" because of "terrorist activities" by Boko Haram which are spilling into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, the LRA threat, the continuing crisis in Central African Republic, maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, the illegal trade in wildlife and organised crime.

A presidential statement expressed the council's concern at the link between illicit trafficking in wildlife and natural resources and financing of armed groups including the LRA.

The council said Boko Haram's attacks have prompted about 74,000 Nigerians to flee to Cameroon and displaced 96,000 people in Cameroon. It said Chad is trying to cope with almost 20,000 Nigerians who had fled across the border, 8,500 citizens who have returned home, and 14,500 internally displaced people.

Council members welcomed recent military gains against Boko Haram and urged every country in the region "to further enhance regional military co-operation and co-ordination to more effectively and immediately combat Boko Haram".

It said the LRA continues to pose a regional security threat, especially in Central African Republic and Congo.

The council urged the African Union to act on an invitation to verify reports that some senior LRA leaders are in the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave on the border between Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.

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While the number of deaths the LRA was responsible for dropped from 76 in 2013 to 36 last year, the council said LRA abductions significantly increased to "several hundreds", and the number of displaced rose from 131,090 last September to 180,000 in December, according to UN figures.

Abdoulaye Bathily, the UN envoy for Central Africa, said more than 200,000 people remain displaced, but he said the arrest in January of senior LRA commander Dominic Ongwen "sends a strong message to remaining LRA fighters and signified that international efforts to combat the group ... are bearing fruit".

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