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On Boko Haram, Hollande Says Goodluck Asked Him to Lead, But Why?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 -- On Boko Haram and the abducted and enslaved school girls in Nigeria, French president Francois Hollande on May 17 said his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan had asked France to take the lead.

  If that is true, why would it be? Even Hollande said France would not directly act, only provide training, intelligence and drones, as the US and UK are doing.

  Inner City Press would note that Nigeria fought of British colonialism, and so would turn elsewhere in Europe for a sponsor, at least of such a conference.

  The colonial card was repeatedly raised by Hollande, who bragged on May 17 about intervention in Mali -- saying France has "only" one thousand troops left there, amid new fighting in Kidal, and the Central African Republic.

  Ironically Hollande said Boko Haram gets weapons from Libya -- where France air dropped in weapons into the Nafusa mountains. If as Hollande claims there was not enough follow up, whose fault is that?

  So as Hollande popularity collapses in France itself, is FrancAfrique growing?

   Hollande made claims of commitment to freedom of information. But his outgoing ambassador at the UN Gerard Araud has refused to answer critical Press questions about French Serval and Sangaris forces actions in Mali and CAR. Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row to run UN Peacekeeping outright and repeatedly refuses Press questions, based on his own role in the Rwanda genocide in 1994, Ladsous memo here.

  Meanwhile a recently-circulated UN report on Children and Armed Conflict has two pages on Boko Haram and Nigeria, as a “situation not on the agenda of the Security Council” (although Nigeria is an elected member of the Security Council for 2014-15).

The report shows the state of knowledge of Boko Haram's attacks on children and students well before the most recent kidnappings. The report at Paragraph 182 expresses particular concern at “targeted attacks on schools by Boko Haram, which were on the increase in Yobe and Borno States since October 2012 and throughout 2013, resulting in the killing of at least 100 children and 70 teachers.”

And what was done?

The UN report continues, “in March 2013, at least 11 schools in Borno State were attacked resulting in the killing of at least seven teachers and three children. In June, two secondary schools were attacked in Yobe and Borno States, resulting in the killing of seven school children and two teachers in Yobe and eight boys and two girls in Borno. In July, a Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, publicly stated that they would burn schools and kill teachers and the group claimed responsibility for an attack on 6 July on a secondary school in Mamudo, Yobe State, killing at least 29 1 children and one teacher, some of them burned alive.”

The “1” after the figure 29 does not lead to any footnote.

These advance copies have been known to be changed before "final" release, in a process for which a description, and then proposals for reform, were provided here and then here.


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