The U.N. Security Council strongly criticized the hostilities of Boko Haram in its 13-point statement released on Monday, in its first official reaction to the activities of the group. Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, had first come to global attention last April when it abducted 276 school girls in Nigeria.
The Security Council’s response came in the wake of the recent suicide bombings and Boko Haram’s seizure of a military base at Baga, located near the border of Cameroon and Chad. The U.N. Security Council expressed concern about the group’s terror activities acting as a detriment to the peace and stability in western and central Asia.
In its previous press statements, the Security Council has responded to the activities of Boko Haram, including last year’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls. These statements, however, do not form a part of the council’s official record and the presidential statement released on Monday became the first statement against the group that actively advocates against the terror acts.
The council called for Boko Haram to terminate all hostilities, disarm and demobilise. It also demanded the release of all the captives held by the group, including the school girls of last year’s kidnapping.
The Security Council warned that certain acts by Boko Haram “may account to crimes against humanity” and stressed that any violation of international human rights and humanitarian law will be made accountable. Boko Haram has gained notice for the harsh methods used in spreading violence including the use of children as suicide bombers.
Boko Haram attempts to enforce Islamic Shariah law across Nigeria and is rapidly expanding its dominion. It has seized villages about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.
The Security Council’s statement was released on the eve of Tuesday’s meeting in Niamey, Niger’s capital, to discuss the threat that Boko Haram poses and the regional response sought by nations, which may include military action against the group.
The council welcomed the meeting and urged the countries in the region to plan a “sustainable, viable and effective” Multinational Joint Task Force to conduct operations against Boko Haram. The council also welcomed Chad’s decision on Friday which authorized Chadian security forces to assist Nigerian and Cameroonian troops to fight against Boko Haram.
Avaaz, on online activist group, received petitions from 725,000 people from across the globe that had appealed to the U.N. Security Council to step up against Boko Haram. Alice Jay, the campaign director for Avaaz said, “Boko Haram has butchered its way into the global spotlight and finally the Security Council is reacting.”