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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid