News / Africa

Frustration Mounts in Nigeria After 3 Days of Deadly Violence

Scene outside outside a church following a blast in Kaduna, Nigeria, June 17, 2012.Scene outside outside a church following a blast in Kaduna, Nigeria, June 17, 2012.
x
Scene outside outside a church following a blast in Kaduna, Nigeria, June 17, 2012.
Scene outside outside a church following a blast in Kaduna, Nigeria, June 17, 2012.
Anne Look
DAKAR - Frustration over Nigeria's handling of a security crisis is mounting after three days of violence killed at least 80 people in the country's north.   

Three days of deadly violence in northern Nigeria have intensified criticism of the government's handling of militant Islamic sect Boko Haram, whose attacks have killed hundreds this year, despite a heavy security deployment.

The militant group has waged increasingly deadly attacks in since 2010.  Security forces are the sect's prime target, however Boko Haram is increasingly attacking civilians, in particular Christians.

Residents of the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the sect's base, say they have lost faith in the nation's leadership and security forces.

This man asked to be identified by his last name as Mr. Olanrewaju.

"They do not have the courage, the competence to handle this problem," said Olanrewaju. "They cannot protect themselves, so how do they protect the citizens?  This is the situation we find ourselves in and it is quite disturbing.  There is no hope that this problem will be resolved soon."

On Monday, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked police and security targets in the northeastern city of Damaturu.  State authorities put the city under a 24-hour curfew as shootouts between militants and security forces continued into Tuesday.

Hospital sources said at least 40 people were killed.

The violence in Damaturu followed unrest Sunday in Kaduna State, where Boko Haram bombed three Christian churches, killing at least 16 people.  The bombings sparked reprisal attacks by Christians against Muslims that reportedly killed at least 52 people in Kaduna.

Authorities declared a statewide 24-hour curfew for Kaduna.

Nigeria's national security adviser, General Owoye Azazi, said religious leaders in Kaduna are working to calm tensions.

"Things happen," said Azazi. "As a nation, as a people, we must address those situations, not necessarily by killing each other."

General Azazi said security forces, assisted by information from local populations, have made headway against Boko Haram in certain areas, but not every bombing can be prevented.

The Christian Association of Nigeria says the government's response to the insurgency has been "cavalier."  It says the president has done nothing to reassure an end to the bombings and gun attacks is in sight.

Analysts have long warned that terrorist attacks against Christians in Kaduna state and the rest of the country's volatile Middle Belt could spark wider sectarian conflict in a region where religious clashes have killed hundreds in recent years.

The head of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, Shehu Sani, says reprisal attacks have worsened the situation.  

"Boko Haram has always wanted Muslims to see them as a force in the defense their interests," said Sani. "Now, it is very clear that if the Christians take all Muslims as being part of Boko Haram, and also all Muslims as legitimate targets for retaliation, they will simply be creating an alliance which will be very difficult for them and the Nigerian authorities to handle."

President Goodluck Jonathan is coming under fire for leaving the country to attend the environmental conference in Brazil.

The opposition Action Congress of Nigeria issued a statement that said the president's decision to go ahead with planned travel amidst the unrest was a reflection of "insensitive and confused leadership."

A Maiduguri resident who asked to be identified only as Mr. Ogar put it this way.

"A sensitive and a rational leader whose house is burning should not be seen to be more interested in things that are happening outside his own country," said Ogar. "A new dimension was introduced in Kaduna and the man abandoned leadership."

Northern leaders continue to call for dialogue, and not force, to end the Boko Haram insurgency.  A recent effort at mediated talks between the government and the sect failed.  

National security adviser Azazi told journalists Tuesday that efforts at dialogue are ongoing and it is "never too late" to talk.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs