African states should act quickly and collectively to curb the growing threat posed by Nigeria based militant group, Boko Haram, the African Union chief has said.
According to the BBC, Cross-border raids into Cameroon showed the dangers the Boko Haram group posed, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.
In an interview with the BBC Hausa service, however, Borno state governor Kashim Shettima called on people not to panic.
“This is our land. No fear, no flight, no retreat. We should not flee. We have a history dating back 1,000 years and I swear by Allah we are going to beat [Boko Haram],” he said.
Nigeria has rejected AU or UN intervention, saying regional armies are capable of dealing with the threat.
Last week, Nigeria’s national security adviser Sambo Dasuki told the BBC that regional armies were in “good shape” to take on Boko Haram and so they did not need help from the UN or AU.
However, there have been many reports of government forces fleeing when Boko Haram fighters advance.
Some soldiers say they do not have enough weapons and working equipment to defend territory.
Chad, seen as having the most capable military in the region, sent a convoy of troops and 400 military vehicles to Cameroon earlier this month to battle Boko Haram.
Its troops repelled a new attack by Boko Haram on the key north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Sunday night.
In an address to African foreign ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ms Dlamini-Zuma said recent attacks by Boko Haram were deeply horrifying.
AU heads of state had agreed to include the conflict on the agenda of their summit, due to begin on Friday, she said.
Correspondents say Boko Haram and Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabab will now dominate the summit, which was supposed to focus on women’s empowerment and development.