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UN: African Nations Should Change 'Pursuit' Laws


Chadian soldiers stand at a checkpoint in front of a Boko Haram flag in the Nigerian city of Damasak, March 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Chadian soldiers stand at a checkpoint in front of a Boko Haram flag in the Nigerian city of Damasak, March 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

A United Nations committee is calling on some African countries to change their laws so police can cross national borders when they are chasing terrorist suspects.

Jean-Paul Laborde is the executive director of the United Nations counter-terrorism committee. He says people being chased by police can often avoid capture by fleeing to another country. That is because police from one country are often not permitted to follow fleeing suspects into another country without written permission.

“Of course there is more to be done not only by the international community but also at the regional level in terms of police cooperation, which is already well done among the countries of central Africa. But it is also needed to establish links with the other parts of Africa -- especially with ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West Africa States) and with the countries of this region.”

Mr. Laborde, along with representatives from organizations that help the UN fight terrorists, is visiting Cameroon. Mr. Laborde says they are seeking the necessary support to fight terrorism within the limits of the law.

Mr. Laborde and the groups are urging countries in west and central Africa to cooperate. Some of those countries are battling with the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has been fighting for six years to put in place a strict form of Sharia law across northern Nigeria.

In recent years, the group has been attacking areas of Cameroon and Chad. This month, Boko Haram said it would join with the Middle East-based terrorist group called Islamic State.

Earlier this year, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon agreed to create a regional force of more than 8,000 troops to fight Boko Haram. The troops have started cross-border military operations.

I’m Jim Tedder.

Moki Edwin Kindzeka reported this story from Yaounde. Christopher Jones-Cruise wrote it for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

suspects – n. people who are believed to be possibly guilty of committing a crime

regional – adj. describing a part of a country or the world that is different or separate from other parts in some way

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