Views: 2019 Posts: 2 Started By: CeeGeek Last Poster: CeeGeek Last Post Date: Feb 27, 2015
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February 15, 2015 ( Post 1 )

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan appealed for more US help in fighting Boko Haram, as the Islamists struck again on Saturday and called for a boycott of upcoming general elections.

The head of state for the first time claimed direct
links between the Sunni radicals who have been
waging a six-year insurgency in Nigeria and the
Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. He told the Wall Street Journal in an interview:
“Are they (the United States) not fighting ISIS?
Why can’t they come to Nigeria? “They are our friends. If Nigeria has a problem,
then I expect the US to come and assist us.” But Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby
said there are no plans to send US troops to Nigeria. “I can tell you that there are no plans as I speak here
to send unilaterally, to send or to add US troops into
Nigeria. There are no US troops operating in
Nigeria,” he told reporters. Kirby said the United States was in the early phases
of helping establish a multi-national task force of
African nations to help Nigeria defeat Boko
Haram. Jonathan’s comments were published as hundreds of
Islamist fighters invaded the northeastern city of
Gombe, firing heavy guns and throwing leaflets
calling for locals to shun the elections. The attack, which began at about 9:00 am (0800
GMT), saw residents flee and the authorities impose
a 24-hour lock-down in the city, which Boko Haram
has repeatedly targeted. Boko Haram has opened up two new fronts in its
campaign to create a hardline Islamic state in
northeast Nigeria, pushing into neighbouring Niger
last week and for the first time on Friday, Chad. It has also increased the frequency and intensity of
its attacks on northern Cameroon. The increasing
regional threat has led to the deployment of troops
from all three countries, reflecting security fears. Jonathan and his government have long sought to
portray, the insurgency as being fuelled by outside
forces and he has previously called Boko Haram
“Al-Qaeda in west Africa”. Critics have interpreted his attempt to blame
foreigners for the violence that has left more than
13,000 dead and displaced more than one million
since 2009 as a diversion from national failings. Boko Haram, which loosely translates from the
Hausa language widely spoken in northern Nigeria
as “Western education is forbidden”, started out in
2002 as a largely peaceful Islamist movement. But it has been transformed in the last six years
from a rag-tag group of guerrilla fighters into a
conventional army, seizing territory and dozens of
towns in three northeast Nigerian states. The group has generally not been thought to have
any direct operational links with overseas jihadis,
although some fighters may have received training
from Al-Qaeda-linked militants in north Africa. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has previously
mentioned IS group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in
videos but has not pledged allegiance to the outfit. The Nigerian group’s tactics of extreme violence and
mass casualty hit-and-run raids, bombings and
suicide attacks also predated those carried out by the
IS group. But Jonathan told the US newspaper that Nigeria
had intelligence reports that Boko Haram was
receiving “training and funds” from IS militants. Any direct US military intervention would constitute
a marked shift in Nigeria’s attitude towards the
conflict. It has repeatedly insisted that it can take on
the militants alone. The United States has provided surveillance and
intelligence specialists, as well as aerial drones, to
help in the high-profile hunt for 219 schoolgirls
kidnapped by Boko Haram last April. But bilateral ties have since been fraught over
Washington’s refusal to provide military hardware
because of concerns about human rights abuses in the
Nigerian army. The latest attack in Gombe, south of Boko Haram’s
centre of operations, coincided with the original date
for presidential elections, at which Jonathan is
seeking a second four-year term. The vote was postponed last Saturday after the
electoral commission was advised that regional
forces needed more time to tackle the insurgents and
would not be able to provide security on polling
day. But the six-week deadline to effectively secure and
stabilise the northeast and allow hundreds of
thousands of people displaced by the violence to
vote has been seen as unrealistic. Jonathan on Friday maintained that postponing the
elections until March 28 would give the security
agencies time to “clean up” the three states worst hit by the insurgency for voting to take place.

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February 15, 2015 ( Post 10 )


February 27, 2015 ( Post 11 )

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