June 16, 2015 / 10:50 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. set to provide $5 million for anti-Boko Haram force

Cameroon special forces personnel stand guard on the Elbeid bridge in Fotokol, February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Bate Felix Tabi Tabe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States plans to provide $5 million to help support a regional military force fighting Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a state department official said on Tuesday.

Boko Haram last year held a vast swathe of territory in northeastern Nigeria of just over 30,000 square kilometers (11,500 square miles), about the size of Belgium. The militants have since been beaten back but are still blamed for isolated attacks such as in Chad’s capital on Monday where at least 27 people were killed.

The United States is already providing bilateral aid to Chad, Niger and Cameroon for logistics and other equipment worth about $34 million, the official said.

The additional funding for the new force, composed of troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin, will be channeled via the African Union.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Alan Crosby

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