Togo West Africa Points of interest
Jesper Cullen, an analyst with the UK-based Risk Advisory group thinks that the regional meetings will not bear much fruit. "The Nigerian government has allowed Chad and Cameroon into Nigeria, but this has mainly been along the border and it appears that the government in Nigeria is reluctant to admit some sort of failure by allowing foreign troops in, " Cullen told DW. He believes that this might change if the opposition were to win the upcoming elections, but that the chances that this will happen are relatively slim.
Having given their own backing for a multinational anti-Boko Haram force, AU leaders are also seeking a mandate from the UN Security Council in the hope ofgaining both financial and logistical support. On a visit to West Africa, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that France was willing to support the AU's bid. "France's support for the integrated African reaction force is total, " Fabius told reporters in Niger's capital Niamey. Fabius also praised Nigeria for stepping up its military efforts against the rebel group.
According to Cullen there is a large international interest in supporting the fight against Boko Haram. The question is whether AU and international efforts will simply protect Nigeria's neighboring countries in order to contain the terrorist activities, or whether they will actually make headway in Nigeria itself. "The Nigerian army is much larger than [the AU force] and has a huge military presence in the northeast, but has really struggled to fight Boko Haram, " explains Cullen. Small countries like Togo and Benin, could only contribute a fraction of such a presence to the international effort.
Nigeria's northeastern states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno directly border Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Nigerian army wins back key towns
In recent weeks, Nigeria's army has claimed a series of victories against the Boko Haram Islamists. This follows the postponement of elections on the grounds of insecurity in Nigeria's northern states. The army recaptured key towns such as Baga, which lies on the shores of Lake Chad and where hundreds or possibly more people were killed in early January. Both Baga and Monguno, another town that was recaptured, have military bases.
But the military has failed to stop the frequent suicide bombings. On Tuesday a teenage girl blew herself up at a crowded bus station in the town of Potiskum, killing at least 16 people and wounding over 50. A few days earlier, a suicide bomber, no older than 10, killed herself and four other people in the same town.