Benin’ s president has vowed to contribute 800 troops
to a regional force intended to combat the Nigeria-
based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
Thomas Boni Yayi made the announcement Saturday
during a visit from Nigeria President Muhammadu
Buhari that coincided with Benin’ s independence
“ This is an opportunity for Benin to express solidary
with countries on the front line against the Islamic
sect , Boko Haram. This solidary will result in the
sending of a contingent of 800 men from Benin’ s
army , ” Boni Yayi said.
Deployment of the regional force has been delayed
for lack of funds . At a meeting in Cameroon in
February, Nigeria and a group of neighboring
countries that also includes Chad , Cameroon and
Niger agreed to deploy around 8, 700 troops, with
Benin pledging 250.
The six -year – old uprising has killed 20 , 000 people and
driven nearly 20 million from their homes.
Multinational troops earlier this year forced the
extremists out of towns they had held, but Nigerian
politicians now say Boko Haram is again seizing
The uprising has taken on a regional dimension this
year with regular attacks in Niger, Cameroon and
Chad. Boko Haram became an affiliate of the Islamic
State group earlier this year.
Last week Buhari also visited Cameroon in a bid to
bolster support for the regional force . The trip came
eight weeks after he visited Niger and Chad.