Benin pledges 800 troops to anti-Boko Haram force
Benin's president Thomas Boni Yayi - REUTERS
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COTONOU: Benin’s president says the country will contribute 800 troops to a regional force intended to combat the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

Thomas Boni Yayi made the announcement Saturday during a visit from Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.

Deployment of the regional force has been delayed for lack of funds. At a meeting in Cameroon in February, Nigeria and a group of neighboring countries that also includes Chad, Cameroon and Niger agreed to deploy around 8,700 troops, with Benin pledging 250.

The 6-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven nearly 20 million from their homes. It has taken on a regional dimension this year with regular attacks in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Last week Buhari also visited Cameroon in a bid to bolster support for the regional force.

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