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Italy mulls joining the fray against Boko Haram


ROME – Italian Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said on Wednesday in Rome that Italy may consider contributing to tackling militant groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria.

He also pledged that Italy would fight in Libya, as part of an international mission.

Gentiloni said military action response to terrorism was inevitably and implied military consequences.

The minister said the groups, wherever they are, must also be dealt with on a military footing.

“I won’t use the word ‘combat’ to avoid being painted as a crusader,” he said.

Gentiloni said more should also be done to tackle religious persecution.

“The fact that these groups are targeting Christians brings the need to help even closer to home, because it concerns our identity and our roots,’’ he said.

He said it was important for Italy, which is home to the Vatican, to protect Christian sites and minority religious communities, such as Jews, which could become targets.

He challenged Europe to wake p to the fight, saying Europe had long ignored dangers faced by people in other parts of the world.

“For years Europe has had a bad habit, a mix of selfishness and cowardice that prompts it to turn its gaze elsewhere when it comes to what happens beyond our little old world,” he said.

Gentiloni said that Italian forces were committed to training local armed forces in Somalia to fight the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants who singled out Christians in a shooting on spree Thursday at a Kenyan university.
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“Islamic State’s incursion into North Africa has alarmed Italy, whose southernmost island is separated from Tunisia by a 70-mile stretch of the Mediterranean,’’ he said.

Gentiloni said the rate of violence in Libya had swelled the number of illegal migrants coming to Italy by boat. (Reuters/NAN)
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