News / Africa

Nigeria President Rules Out Islamist Militant Amnesty

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) on visit to Borno state, March 7, 2013Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) on visit to Borno state, March 7, 2013
x
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) on visit to Borno state, March 7, 2013
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) on visit to Borno state, March 7, 2013
Reuters
— Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan said he was not ready to offer an amnesty to members of Islamist militant sect Boko Haram, brushing aside a proposal from the country's most senior Muslim spiritual leader.
       
Jonathan spoke on his first state trip to the northeastern region worst hit by the group's more than three-year insurgency - the Christian southerner has been widely criticized for not visiting sooner.
       
"I cannot talk about amnesty with Boko Haram now until they come out and show themselves,'' Jonathan told reporters in Yobe state capital Damaturu, a town regularly hit by the sect's guerrilla-style bomb and gun attacks.
       
Muslim leader the Sultan of Sokoto suggested this week members of Boko Haram - who currently pose the country's biggest security threat - should be offered an amnesty, similar to the one given to militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta in 2009.
       
The delta deal promising no prosecution and cash for fighters who handed in their weapons pulled thousands of armed youths out of the creeks.
       
It almost wiped out militant attacks on oil pipelines for political purposes, which had choked off Africa's biggest oil industry.
       
"Some people are comparing Boko Haram with the Niger Delta but, in Niger Delta if you call them [the militants], they will come out. But the Boko Haram don't and we can't grant amnesty to ghosts,'' Jonathan said during his one-day visit.
       
Boko Haram has operated under a cloak of secrecy since it started its campaign to carve out an Islamic state in Africa's largest oil producer - a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.
       
Since the killing of Boko Haram's spokesman last year, members have stopped calling to claim attacks. In recent months, bombings and shootings have been attributed to Boko Haram by the army or police.
       
The government has accused politicians in some areas of backing the insurgency, while some analysts say Boko Haram is a label used by a collection of armed groups, rather then one coherent organization.
       
Criminal gangs have also sprung up, hoping their robberies and raids will be blamed on the militants.
       
The sect has regularly targeted soldiers, police, government officials and Christians.
       
At least 13 Christians were killed last weekend by suspected Islamist gunmen in a suburb of Kano, the north's biggest city, the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria Ransom Bello told a news conference on Thursday.
       
Kano state Police Commissioner Musa Daura confirmed the attack, but put the death toll at eight.
       
Boko Haram's self-proclaimed leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video circulated on Sunday rejecting any notion of a ceasefire or peace talks with the government.
       
Western governments fear Boko Haram, or factions of it, have linked up with other groups in the region, including al-Qaida's North African franchise.
       
Attacks on foreign targets have become more common, especially since a French-led operation last month against Islamists in northern Mali. Nigeria has sent hundreds of troops there to join the operation.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid