, UNITED NATIONS, Jan 11 – UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday met Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru as the UN expressed fears about militant groups in West Africa.
The two met just after ther release of a UN report which hinted at links between Boko Haram, the Nigeria group blamed for a series of attacks, and Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa.
The report highlighted “growing concern in the region about possible linkages between Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”
A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber attacked the UN headquarters in Abuja on August 26, killing 13 UN staff and 12 other people. Amid rising tensions, the group was blamed for the killing of eight people, including five police, in a pub in Potiskum in the northern state of Yobe on Tuesday, officials said.
“The secretary general and the foreign Minister discussed recent developments in Nigeria” and the investigation into the bomb attack on the UN headquarters, said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
The Nigerian minister did not speak to reporters after the meeting.
But Ban and Ashiru also discussed the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Ban “commended Nigeria for its crucial support” to Benin through joint patrols the countries are conducting along their common coastline to tackle piracy throughout the Gulf of Guinea.
Ban thanked the foreign minister for the support provided to a recent UN-African Union mission to the Sahel to assess the impact of the Libyan crisis on the region.
The two also discussed conflict in Somalia and Sudan’s Darfur region, the spokesman said.