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: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid