Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Boko Haram 'Scourge' a Warning Sign for All West Africa, Envoy Says

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Boko Haram 'Scourge' a Warning Sign for All West Africa, Envoy Says

Article excerpt

The world was briefly transfixed by the brutal abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by a terrorist group in northern Nigeria in April - and then almost as quickly turned its gaze elsewhere.

But the United Nations' special representative for West Africa says that wrenching events will continue unless Nigeria and other countries in the region take steps to address the root causes of turmoil - from poor governance and uneven development to deepening divisions among national political factions.

"The abduction of the Chibok girls is part of a bigger problem of governance and development in northeast Nigeria," says Said Djinnit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's special representative for West Africa, using the name of the village where more than 270 schoolgirls were abducted by the terrorist insurgency Boko Haram.

Addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday, Mr. Djinnit said that "Nigeria is at a crossroads" - with the key country's course to be determined by how it responds to the growing challenges.

Speaking later to reporters, he suggested that political divisions within Nigeria are as much at fault as anything else for the inability to resolve the kidnapping crisis. "This is a challenge to progress as a whole, and all parties should be coming together to address this scourge," he said, using the word "scourge" repeatedly to describe the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Djinnit addressed the Security Council on events in West Africa during the past six months - a period marked by rising international concern about trends, including growing instability, across Africa's midsection.

The sub-Saharan swath of Africa referred to as the Sahel is experiencing increased ethnic and religious divisions and mushrooming conflicts - in particular in regions with little or no governmental presence. …

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