News / Africa

    Nigerian President Seeks 'New Tactics' Against Boko Haram

    Worshipers arrive at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, June 24, 2012. Worshipers arrive at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, June 24, 2012.
    x
    Worshipers arrive at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, June 24, 2012.
    Worshipers arrive at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, June 24, 2012.
    Anne Look
    DAKAR - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says the government needs "new tactics" against militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, which he accuses of trying to destabilize Nigeria. 

    The president appeared on a televised question-and-answer session Sunday, one week after deadly church bombings and unrest in the north sharpened criticism of his handling of the three-year-old insurgency. 

    On state television, President Goodluck Jonathan responded to questions from journalists and citizens about the government's response to Boko Haram.

    The shadowy militant group has killed hundreds of people in northern Nigeria so far this this year in its bid for a wider application of sharia law.  The insurgency has escalated since the group's reemergence in 2010, a year after it suffered heavy losses in clashes with Nigeria's military.

    Militants are increasingly attacking civilians, in particular Christians, which has inflamed religious tensions in Nigeria's volatile Middle Belt region.

    Threat to government stability

    Jonathan said Boko Haram aims to destabilize the government by any means possible.

    "Their attacking of churches is to instigate religious crisis," he said.  "They believe that when they attack a church, Christian youth will revolt against Muslim youth.  They don't care about who dies in the process.  And government will be destabilized.  If the way they are attacking churches wash out, if it doesn't work - of course we are working hard, we will crush it, we will stop it - but if it doesn't work, the same Boko Haram will start attacking mosques to instigate Muslim youth to attack Christians."

    The northern city of Kaduna remains under a partial curfew, one week after church bombings in the state sparked reprisal attacks against Muslims.  In all, violence in northern Nigeria last week killed more than 100 people.  The unrest aroused a flurry of criticism against the government, which has been unable to stop attacks despite a heavy security deployment in northern cities.

    Fresh tactics needed

    On Sunday, President Jonathan fired his national security adviser and minister of defense.  He said it was time for "new tactics."

    "We think that it is the time some other hands will have to come in to do things slightly differently," he said. "It's not that the people who were there before were not working hard.  They are good Nigerians.  They worked very hard."

    The president's new security adviser is Sambo Dasuki, a retired army colonel from the north and a cousin of an influential Muslim leader, the sultan of Sokoto.  He replaces General Owoye Azazi, a political ally from the president's home state in southern Nigeria.

    Northern leaders continue to call for dialogue and less use of force to end the Boko Haram insurgency.  A recent attempt at mediated talks failed.

    President Jonathan said Sunday the government will revive dialogue efforts.

    "But presently, Boko Haram has no face," he said.  "Nobody will come and tell you that I am a leader of Boko Haram and government will not dialogue with a faceless group.  You must have a face.  You must tell us the reason why you are doing what you are doing.  Then, of course, we'll dialogue."

    The president also responded to heavy criticism after he left the country to attend the G20 environmental summit in Brazil last week as violence paralyzed two northern cities.  The main opposition party, Action Congress of Nigeria, said it was a sign of "insensitive and confused leadership."

    President Jonathan said "the government must not stop for a second because of terrorism."

    Chat draws mixed reactions

    While some Nigerians said they appreciated the president's participation in the televised chat, they say it will take more than words to reassure them.

    "As far as I'm concerned, the president didn't hit the target," said Mohammed Shu'aibu, a Muslim youth leader in Kaduna. "He didn't at all hit the target.  He has a lot of homework to do in order to bring security to Nigeria."

    Others said the president's replacement of high-level security officials is a step in the right direction.

    "If you look at it from experience, we don't expect a national security adviser to Mr. President to have a lackadaisical attitude towards their approach," civil society member in Kaduna Prince Abdul said. "It's not something you discuss on TV, it's not something you discuss on media, it's something you take action and propagate a serious security action towards that so that it can be stopped."

    Northern Nigeria saw fresh violence early Monday when a security official said suspected Boko Haram militants raided a prison in the northeastern city of Damaturu, killing at least two people and freeing 40 inmates.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Joe from: TN
    July 09, 2012 3:57 PM
    A number of violent attacks on Jews around the world and the attack by a radical Moslem on a Jewish school in France is tangible evidence that the rise in antisemitism in our world is becoming a major threat to the Jewish people today. A recent survey among ten European nations indicated that the belief that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ is a major factor in this rise in antisemitism. It is also true that the ever increasing Moslem population in Europe is a factor in antisemitism among the European peoples.

    Couple this survey information with the Arab and Moslem world's use of radical rhetoric towards Israel and the Jewish people and the stage is being set for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled. Several ancient Jewish prophets revealed a time when the world would hate the Jews and want to rid the world of these people. Zechariah wrote 2500 years ago that at that time 2 out of every 3 Jews would be hated and then killed. Evil angels, led by the devil himself, will try and kill every Jew on the earth (Revelation 12:7-17). Jeremiah called this terrible time in the future the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7). Daniel wrote in 12:1, that the Lord would dispatch Michael the archangel to protect the Jews from complete annihilation.

    Antisemitism today will lead to Bible prophecy being fulfilled in a future tomorrow.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora