ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday welcomed the decision by the African Union (AU) to deploy up to 7,500 troops to battle Boko Haram, a movement that has wreaked havoc in west Africa over the past years.

The UN chief made the remarks on the sidelines of the 24th AU summit, which is ongoing here in the Ethiopian capital.

The Peace and Security Council of the AU on Thursday decided to authorize the deployment of a multinational task force to address terrorism in west Africa.