The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and the head of the UN Regional Office for the region (UNOCA), Francois Fall, has called on the international community to place the Boko Haram terrorist sect on watchlist.

Fall stated this at the UN headquarters in New York while briefing the Security Council on developments in the Central African sub-region, NAN reports.

Fall said:

“The Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremist group was also a malicious threat to the region that the international community needed to watch carefully, as it continues to launch ‘indiscriminate attacks’ against security forces as well as civilians.

“Efforts to stamp out Boko Haram should also focus on addressing the root causes of the insurgency,” said the UN envoy.

He warned that the rising violence in the Central African Republic threatened to spill across the border into neighbouring countries, creating further instability, and urged continued and coordinated regional efforts to bolster peace and security.

He said a comprehensive and cautious approach is needed against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as the African Union works to replace its ongoing initiative against the rebel group.

Fall however warned that replacing the AU’s initiative to neutralise the LRA should not leave a security vacuum that the group could exploit to relaunch and intensify its campaign of violence.

He informed the 15-member Council of a number of recent election campaigns, including the October parliamentary ballots in São Tomé and Príncipe, as well as legislative and local elections in Gabon, adding that elections in Chad, scheduled for November, had been postponed.

 

“I encourage the Chadian authorities to organise these elections as soon as possible and call on the international community to provide the necessary financial support to the Government, as required,” Fall said.

On Cameroon, the UN official raised concern over continuing reports of alleged human rights violations and called on the Government to speed up its efforts towards decentralisation as well as promotion of bilingualism and multiculturalism, as tensions between French and English-speaking communities continue.

Cameroon’s Anglophone regions the country’s northwest and southwest regions – have seen multiple strikes and demonstrations over the past year as tensions mounted over what the country’s English-speakers see as discrimination against them in favour of the majority French-speaking population.

Fall urged nations in Central Africa to “remain committed” to institutional reform at the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), particularly with regard to funding mechanisms to ensure the effective implementation of key projects in the areas of peace, security and governance”.