News / Africa

Clinton Offers Aid to Nigerian Security Forces Against Boko Haram

US Secretary of State Clinton meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan Aug. 9, 2012US Secretary of State Clinton meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan Aug. 9, 2012
US Secretary of State Clinton meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan Aug. 9, 2012
US Secretary of State Clinton meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan Aug. 9, 2012
Anne Look
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped in Nigeria Thursday as part of her 11-day, nine-country Africa tour.  The secretary of state reaffirmed what she called the "vital" strategic partnership between the two countries and offered U.S. assistance in marshaling Nigeria's security against the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram.

Nigeria is America's largest trading partner in Africa and one of the world's top 10 oil producers.  But much of its population lives in poverty and rampant corruption undermines development efforts.

Clinton reiterated Washington's commitment to the bilateral relationship and support for Nigerian reforms, including anti-corruption efforts.  

"We really believe that the future for Nigeria is limitless.  But the most important task that you face is making sure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians.  We want to work with you and we will be by your side as you make the reforms and take the tough decisions that are necessary," Clinton said.

Clinton spoke following high-level meetings with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his national security team and government ministers.  A senior State Department official said the United States offered to help Nigeria "harmonize" the efforts of its police, military and other security forces.  A lack of coordination and information sharing between the various branches is said to be hindering the fight against Islamist extremist sect Boko Haram.
Another senior State Department official in the meeting said the Nigerian government was "very interested" in the proposal and that the United States will be sending a team to follow up.  The proposal includes helping Nigerian security forces set up an "intelligence fusion cell" to better share information, based on a model used by the United States that it has shared with several other nations.

The State Department says the U.S. also offered to assist in forensics and post-attack inspections, as well as improved methods of tracking and arresting suspected militants.

Boko Haram stages almost daily bombings and shootings in northern Nigeria that Human Rights Watch says have killed 1,400 people since the sect's reemergence in 2010.

Nigeria has not been able to stop the bloodshed.  Critics say the government's military crackdown in the North has escalated the violence, which threatens to destabilize Africa's most populous country and its neighbors.

President Jonathan thanked the Obama administration for its "passion" and support for Nigeria, in particular during the turbulent political transition following the death of President Umar Yar'Adua in 2010.

"The support they gave us was one of the things that stabilized this country.  And when we insisted that we must conduct elections that would be free and fair -- that is the only way we can stabilize democracy -- they gave us moral support, technical support and assisted us to make sure that we conducted elections that both national and international observers declared were quite free and fair," he said.

A senior State Department official said Secretary Clinton and President Jonathan extensively discussed a proposed regional intervention in Mali, where Islamist militants have seized control of the northern half of the country, while the south remains gripped in a post-coup political crisis.

Mali is expected to figure prominently in Clinton's informal discussions with regional leaders in Accra on Friday on the sidelines of the funeral for Ghanian President John Atta Mills.

Clinton will conclude her tour with a stop in Benin late Friday.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs