News / Africa

Nigerian President, Leaders to Discuss African Militant Threat

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, May 9, 2014.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, May 9, 2014.
Reuters
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, facing a mounting Islamist insurgency at home, will fly to South Africa to discuss ways of tackling militancy across the continent with African heads of state, his spokesman said.
 
The meeting follows warnings from Nigeria and its neighbors that Boko Haram - which has killed thousands of Nigerians during its five-year-old insurgency, and last month kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls - now threatens the security of the region.
 
Leaders from every corner of the continent would meet before South African President Jacob Zuma's inauguration on Saturday to “focus on collective action to effectively roll back the scourge of terrorism in Africa,” spokesman Reuben Abati said.
 
As well as Boko Haram, regional and world powers are increasingly worried about the growing reach of groups such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia's al Shabaab, which has attacked Uganda and Kenya and this week threatened to unleash teenage suicide bombers in Nairobi.
 
Security experts say cross-border intelligence sharing between countries threatened by militant groups is woefully weak.
 
Jonathan and the military have been criticized in Nigeria for the slowness of their reaction to the mass abduction, which took place in the remote northeastern village of Chibok, near the borders of Cameroon and Chad.
 
Nigeria accepted help from the United States, Britain, France and China last week and around 80 U.S. troops were arriving in Chad to start a mission to try to free the schoolgirls.
 
Civilian targeted
 
Boko Haram, which is fighting to set up an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, has stepped up attacks in recent weeks.
 
Since the day of the abductions, which have grabbed global attention, at least 425 civilians have been killed. A bomb blast at the edge of the capital Abuja killed 71 people on the same day of the kidnappings on April 14 and eight more girls have since been snatched.
 
Boko Haram initially attacked mostly security forces and government officials after it launched its uprising in northeast Borno state's capital Maiduguri in 2009.
 
But when Jonathan ordered a military offensive a year ago to flush them out, civilians formed vigilante groups to help out - and themselves became targets.

 
Boko Haram
 
  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
Suspected Boko Haram militants shot dead 29 farm workers as they tilled their fields in remote northeast Nigerian village of Chukku Nguddoa. A bomb blast in Jos killed 118 people on Tuesday, the deadliest single attack in the central city, which has been periodically targeted by Islamist bombers since 2010.
 
Nigerian protesters have taken to the street and launched a online campaign to press authorities to do more to free the girls. But on Thursday, Jonathan urged Nigerians to be realistic.
 
“We all must come together to fight terrorism ... protests should be directed at the terrorists,” he said. “We must never lose sight of the fact that the terrorists are the real enemy.”
 
The president has referred to Boko Haram as “al-Qaida in West Africa” seeking to portray what is often seen as a homegrown insurgency as part of a global jihad network.
 
Security officials say Boko Haram fighters have received training, arms and funding from both Somalia's al Shabaab and al-Qaida's wing in the Sahara, though they doubt links are extensive.
 
The governor of Borno state Kassim Shettima told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday that Boko Haram had many foreign fighters, including Chadians, Cameroonians, but also Libyans who fled after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
 
“If you call them Nigeria's al-Qaida, you honor them. These guys are just plain raving lunatics,” Shettima said.
 
The U.N. Security Council committee on al-Qaida sanctions blacklisted Boko Haram on Thursday.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid