• Burned houses in Baga had been used in fierce fighting before, including the one in April 2013.

Niger not ready to help retake Baga from Boko Haram

Niger has said it will not be involved in any attempt to retake the key north-east Nigerian town of Baga from the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram.


Bodies reportedly lay strewn on the streets of the town following an assault by the Islamists on Wednesday, with hundreds feared killed.

The town is near the border with Chad and had housed a military base staffed partly by multinational forces.

Soldiers from Niger had been there but were not present when it was attacked.

The BBC reports from Abuja that the decision of Niger is clearly a big blow to Nigeria, which had said the presence of a multinational task force in the area would help defeat Boko Haram.

The withdrawal of the troops from Niger means Nigeria's neighbour now has no forces directly involved in tackling Boko Haram.

Chad has also withdrawn its forces.

Nigerian officials told the BBC that almost all of Baga had been set on fire and militants had raided the surrounding area.

Niger Foreign Minister, Mohamed Bazoum, told the BBC Hausa service: "We have 50 soldiers there and decided to withdraw them after Boko Haram captured Malamfatori town in October and continued to operate in the area with impunity.

"As you know, Baga is under [the control of] Boko Haram terrorists and unless the town is recaptured from them, we will not send back our troops.

"But we are still determined to work with our neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria to contain the situation - it is a problem for us all."

A separate French-led initiative had called for all the four West African countries to contribute 700 troops each to a multinational force against Boko Haram, but no country has implemented the plan.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno and two neighbouring states in 2013, vowing to defeat the militants.


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