President Boni Yayi of Republic of Benin has called on the international community to help eliminate the grave threat posed by Islamist militants in control of northern Mali.

Yayi, who made the call on Tuesday during the 67th UN General Assembly’s General Debate, warned that the militants endangered stability in the West African region if not checked.

It would be recalled that fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels had broken out in northern Mali in January.

“These terrorist movements engage in all sorts of trafficking in drugs, people and all calibre of arms. They are committing massive violations of the fundamental rights of citizens,’’ Yayi, who is also Chairman of the African Union (AU), said.

He urged the international community to collaborate with the African Union in eliminating the threat to the peace and security of the sub-region and prevent large-scale humanitarian catastrophe.

“It is crucial that the Security Council does not lose interest in the fate of civilians exposed to violent abuses by extremist and terrorist movements,” the Republic of Benin president said.

He said this became imperative in view of the spirit of the strategic relationship between Africa and the UN in the field of peace and security.

The Beninoise listed piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa, malnutrition, unemployment, soil erosion, climate change and bad governance as some of the challenges confronting Africa.

Yayi also called for the enlargement of the 15-member Security Council, with Africa getting a permanent seat.(NAN)

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