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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs