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Mar 13, 2015 5:45 AM

Nigeria acknowledges more foreign help in Boko Haram fight

The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) Nigeria has acknowledged it is getting help from regional security operatives following reports that South African and other foreign contractors are assisting in the fight against Boko Haram extremists.

The statement from Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri on Thursday came as a spokesman for Islamic State militants, who control part of Iraq and Syria, said the group has accepted a pledge of allegiance from Boko Haram. The Nigerian extremists have been weakened recently by a multinational force that includes Nigerian neighbors Chad and Niger, and the Islamic State is also under pressure from Iraqi troops and allied Shiite militias that have swept into the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, Omeri said Nigeria has extensive experience in coordinating with other African militaries and leading peacekeeping missions across the continent.

"As a result, we are fully capable of enlisting soldiers from outside of Nigeria through the appropriate channels if needed, therefore, there is no cause for Nigeria to do any backchannel or unlawful recruitment," he said.

Omeri noted the involvement of soldiers from regional militaries in the fight against Boko Haram, and said other "individuals" from the region "are on the ground in a capacity limited to training or technical support."


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