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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs