The Security Council deplored all human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by Boko Haram since 2009, noting that some of their actions might amount to crimes against humanity.

"The Security Council demands that Boko Haram immediately and unequivocally cease all hostilities and all abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and disarm and demobilise," the council said in a statement.

It also demanded "the immediate and unconditional release" of all those abducted by the group, including 276 schoolgirls kidnapped in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria April last year.

Moreover, the 15-nation body emphasised Boko Haram's regional impact by expressing serious concern over the large scale civilian displacement of Nigerians who swarmed into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The council welcomed plans for the meeting to be held Jan 20 in Niamey, Niger, in which the threat posed by Boko Haram will  be discussed.

The UN council's condemnation of the terrorist group follows Boko Haram's recent suicide bombing Jan 10 at a market  in the capital of Nigeria's state of Borno, during which a 10-year-old girl was used to detonate a bomb, as well as attacks in Baga which resulted in the "massive destruction of civilian homes and significant civilian casualties".According to the UN, the surge in violence engineered by Boko Haram has unleashed a wave of fear across Nigeria.

In northern Nigeria alone, over 9,00,000 people, many of them women and children, have fled their homes.

Over 300 schools have been severely damaged or destroyed and hundreds of children have been killed, injured or abducted from their homes and schools.

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