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African states want the United Nations to set up a trust fund to finance a force to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria and called on the international community to supply intelligence and equipment, according to a draft U.N. resolution. The draft U.N. Security Council text endorses the creation of a force by Nigeria and its neighbors Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin to take on Boko Haram. The 54-nation African Union has already approved a force of up to 10,000 troops.The text drafted by Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, and obtained by Reuters, has not yet been circulated to the 15 Security Council members. Chad’s U.N. Ambassador Mahamat Cherif has said he hoped the council could vote on a resolution by end-March.
ILOILO City – The human rights group PanayAlliance Karapatan condemned what it alleged to be a recent attack on innocentcivilians of Barangay Igpanulong, Sibalom, Antique. Panay Alliance Karapatan, however, cited“independent reports” that the military had killed one civilian and arrestedand detained 12 others and that these people were unarmed civilians, and somewere students. Meanwhile, the NPA Mt. Napulak Command inSouthern Panay released a statement denying the Army report of an encounter inMiag-ao. In statement released by the Philippine Army’s61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion, the military claimed to have seized a NewPeople’s Army (NPA) training ground where they encountered 40 members of theNPA at around 10 a.m. on April 18 in Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalaunan, Miag-ao,Iloilo. The group said it was able to get in touchwith the mother of one of these civilians, Ellen Centino from BarangayIgpanulong, Sibalom, Antique who aired her concern for her 18-year old sonCarlo. As a result, the Army claimed, one NPA memberwas killed and 11 were captured. According to the group, the mother recalledthat on April 14 Carlo asked permission to go with his friends to the forest togather honey from beehives which they then intended to sell. The group urged the Commission on Human Rightsto conduct an investigation. The young men have not returned yet, accordingto the group. Their ages ranged from 14 to 21 years old. The attack resulted in the killing of a youthand arrest of 12 more civilians, many of whom were minor students, according tothe group. “Our hope is that this will not fall into thepattern where defenseless people become victims of staged encounters and end upin jails on trumped up charges filed by the army and police,” according toPanay Alliance Karapatan./PN “If indeed it was Carlo Centino and hiscompanions who were chanced upon and fired at by the Philippine Army soldiers,we call on them to promptly release these civilians unharmed to their families,as well as the remains of the person reportedly killed,” according to PanayAlliance Karapatan in a statement.