11 Nov 2014


The Head of UNOCA deeply concerned

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily, is deeply concerned about the impact of Boko Haram activities in some countries of the Central African subregion, namely Chad and Cameroon, that are neighbors of Nigeria, the base of the terrorist group led by Abubakar Shekau. The situation in Cameroon is particularly of concern.

In the Far North Region, recurrent attacks by Boko Haram result in abductions and deaths. “These criminal acts affecting civilians and military elements as well as the recruitment of young people by the terrorist group are intolerable”, underlines Mr. Bathily, who follows closely the developments of the situation in the region - where he recently sent an assessment mission.

The seriousness of the reality on the ground

"We will alert the Security Council on the seriousness of the reality on the ground. The countries concerned need support to meet the challenges they face in the fight against Boko Haram”, says Bathily, expressing his solidarity with the families of the victims. He calls for the immediate cessation of activities of the terrorist group and appeals to the international community to increase its assistance to Nigerian refugees flowing into the northern part of Cameroon following the incursions of Boko Haram. "If nothing is done fast enough, a serious humanitarian crisis might occur," warns the Head of UNOCA, recalling the precarious conditions of more than 17,000 persons settled in a refugee camp at Minawao, in the Far North Region.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Africa renews the determination of the United Nations to continue working with the Cameroonian government as well as regional and international actors to end the atrocities of Boko Haram, which is also a threat to Chad. Experts from UNOCA and from other UN entities were in that country in October to assess the risks. They discussed with relevant partners as well as with Chadian authorities necessary measures to be taken to deal with the Islamist movement, which was last May added to the black list of terrorist organizations subject to sanctions by the Security Council.

In this context, UNOCA supports and encourages ongoing efforts to strengthen cooperation between States of the region and to develop a regional policy based on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the United Nations in 2006. The Office actively attended, among others, the workshop held from 14 to 18 October in Yaoundé (Cameroon) and dedicated to the development of a common strategy against the terrorist threat in the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC). Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Niger, Nigeria and Chad are members of LCBC. Benin is observer.