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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid