The leaders of four African nations, Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Benin Republic have agreed to step up a command centre with additional battalion to fight the Islamist sect, Boko Haram.
The agreement was reached at a meeting held on Tuesday in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic.
After the meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and three other heads of state and a representative of Cameroon’s president the group said in a statement that the command centre for an already agreed-upon multinational force, led by a chief of staff, would be established by November 20.
Other leaders at the meeting were the President of Benin Republic, Thomas Boni Yayi, Niger President, Mahamadou Issoufou and Chad President Idriss Deby.
“The heads of state regrets the persistence of Boko Haram Islamic sect’s atrocious acts of terror on people and security forces in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries,” the statement read.
The leaders agreed to finalise the deployment of troops promised by member states to form the multinational force, to operate within their national borders, by the beginning of November.
Benin, Nigeria’s western neighbour whose border stretches from the Atlantic to the Sahel north, was asked to deploy a full military battalion to its border with Nigeria.
The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out violent attacks mostly in three north-east states in Nigeria.
They are demanding for an Islamic State and an end to Western Education in the region. But in the past few months the group has progressed from bombings, raids and kidnappings that have led to the death of thousands to trying to seize territory in remote areas near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
The recent twist in their operations is believed to have been inspired by the similar moves by Sunni Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.
The militants have also carried out incursions into Niger and Chad, and authorities fear the attacks will continue to spread if left unchecked.
The Niamey meeting is a follow-up to a May summit in Paris where the leaders promised to improve cooperation in the fight against Boko Haram after the group kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls and threatened to destabilise the wider region.