By Ndahi Marama, with agency report
Maiduguri — The government of Switzerland has denied granting financial support to the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, in the fight against Boko Haram.
This came as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, said the war against Boko Haram had assumed a dangerous trend that required collective efforts and vigilance.
Switzerland was listed among the countries that pledged about $250 million to fund the 8,700-strong regional task force.
A statement by Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, FDFA, said the country maintained neutrality in conflicts.
The Swiss government stated “as a neutral actor in conflict situations, Switzerland has never given financial support to military interventions and will abstain from doing so in the future.”
Empasising its commitment in brokering peace, the country said it had spent about $12 million in assisting those affected by Boko Haram crisis.
It said: “Switzerland’s historic commitment to humanitarian aid, the protection of individuals and the promotion of peace is known throughout the world.
“To date, Switzerland allocated close to $12 million to mitigate the affected population’s suffering from the Boko Haram crisis in the region. Most resources have been granted to protection and food security/nutrition-related programmes in neighbouring countries (Niger, Cameroon) to multilateral partners (WFP, UNHCR, ICRC) and NGOs (International Rescue Committee, COOPI, Croix-Rouge française).”
War against insurgency assumes dangerous trend—-FG
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, said yesterday that the war against Boko Haram had taken a dangerous trend that required collective efforts and vigilance.
Lawal, who led a Federal Government delegation of three ministers to Maiduguri, Borno State capital, yesterday, to sympathize with the government and residents of Dalori over last weekend’s Boko Haram attacks, said the insurgents had graduated from capturing of communities and holding of territories to use of suicide bombers on the people, targeting higher casualties.
“When Boko Haram started, they were in the habit of capturing and holding on to territories because the past government allowed it. Now they have moved to use of explosive devices on soft targets because of the heat on them by our military troops.
“This is a dangerous trend. In this place of battle with the insurgents, we may need to change our tactics,” he said during a courtesy visit to Governor Kashim Shettima in Maiduguri.
The SGF said he was directed by the President to visit Borno with the Minister of State for Works, Power and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, his Foreign Affairs (State) counterpart, Khadija Abba Ibrahim and Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health to sympathize with the government and affected people.
He said the visit would also afford them the opportunity of assessing the extent of destruction and humanitarian challenges for the Federal Government to take appropriate action.
While sympathizing with residents of Dalori, a sprawling community on the outskirts of Maiduguri that lost over 100 people in the weekend attack, the SGF said it was time to be more vigilant.
Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa, who received the delegation on behalf of the governor, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his concern for Borno and northeast states affected by insurgency.