A spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he will be attending the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and that the threat posed by Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group in Nigeria, will be a focus.

Stephane Dujarric, told reporters late Wednesday in New York that the U.N. chief will be encouraging officials there to find a solution to the Boko Haram violence.

Boko Haram is increasing attacks as Nigeria prepares for Feb. 14 elections. Some 10,000 people died in the 5-year insurgency in the past year.

Hiroute Guebre Selassie, the U.N. Special Envoy for the Sahel region in Africa, earlier said she is concerned that the Boko Haram's insurgency could destabilize West Africa if current trends continue.