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By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union has endorsed a West African plan to set up a regional task force of 7,500 to fight Islamist Boko Haram militants, a senior official said on Thursday, a vital step towards securing U.N. Security Council backing. Neighbours Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin agreed earlier this month to call on the African Union (AU) to seek U.N. Security Council support for their plan to take on insurgents who are fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram has made incursions into neighbouring Cameroon and threatens the stability of a region that includes Niger and Chad. The next step is to submit (approval) to the U.N. Security Council," Smail Chergui, the commissioner of the AU's Peace and Security Council, told reporters on the sidelines of an African summit in Addis Ababa.
By Abdoulaye Massalaki NIAMEY (Reuters) - Troops from Chad have driven Boko Haram fighters from a northern Nigeria border town seized by the Islamist militants late last year, military sources stationed in neighbouring Niger said on Thursday. Chad's involvement in retaking the town comes as the regional military heavyweight assumes an increasingly aggressive role in combating the militants and regional leaders weigh new options for containing the movement's spread. Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in its struggle to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, seized the town of Malam Fatori in November, sending government soldiers stationed there fleeing across the nearby border into Niger. "This morning the Chadians retook Malam Fatori.