Guinea leader warns Boko Haram risks spreading in region

Guinea leader warns Boko Haram risks spreading in region

Alpha Conde, pictured on November 26, 2014 at the presidential palace in Conakry, says Islamic extremism …

Paris (AFP) - Guinea's president warned Sunday that Islamic extremism risked spreading throughout west Africa and called on countries in the region to do more to help Nigeria in its struggle against Boko Haram.

Alpha Conde's comments came after the radical group kidnapped 185 people in northeast Nigeria on December 14, in a chillingly similar event to the April abduction in Chibok of more than 200 school girls.

"If there is a problem in one country, if we don't put out the fire it will spread to the other countries," Conde told TV5 Monde television in a Sunday interview.

"We hope that we will become aware of this and put an end to the danger of Boko Haram.

"Today it spreads to Cameroon, tomorrow it will be Niger, or Mali, or Guinea... It's not because we don't have common borders that we are not threatened."

Conde said African states had not helped Nigeria enough and needed to be "more responsible."

Boko Haram has carried out a series of abductions in Nigeria this year, boosting their supply of child fighters, porters and young women reportedly used as sex slaves.

The five-year uprising by the extremists has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million others from their homes.

And the radical group has extended its activities beyond Nigerian soil, notably into neighbouring Cameroon.

But the threat in the region is not only limited to Boko Haram.

Islamists driven out of Mali's key northern towns by the French army last year, for instance, are now holed up in the desert and wreak sporadic violence.

Conde also said that presidential elections would still be held in Guinea in 2015 despite the Ebola epidemic, which has hit the country hard.

"Ebola will not stop us from holding elections. Ideally, we would like to defeat Ebola before elections," he said.

"We will give the CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission) all the means to hold elections" next year.

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