The United States government has offered to train Nigerian soldiers on how to counter the continued deadly attacks of the Boko Haram sect. The training is expected to equip the Nigerian soldiers on how to tackle the frequent attacks by the group.
In a report by The Guardian of London, military authorities in Nigeria were said to have confirmed that Nigerian soldiers were undertaking trainings in the US.
“The army is in the process of setting up a division that is effectively looking at warfare tactics,” a spokesman said. “Various battalions were in the United States earlier this year for training to that end.”
The US embassy in Abuja confirmed this by saying: “We have had a mil-mil relationship with the Nigerians for decades, principally supporting their peacekeeping efforts in Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Darfur) and around the globe. In recent years, and at their request, we have also worked with them on their nascent counter-force. We do not know if any of these elements have been deployed in the North.”
The deadly attacks by this sect have claimed hundreds of lives including those that died in the Police Headquarters blast in Abuja last June, and in the August 26 bombing of the United Nations House in Abuja, as well as several other attacks in the North-eastern states of Borno, Bauchi and Yobe.
The frequent killings and violence by the sect has received wide condemnation even from the Muslim community in Nigeria.
The European Union, EU, Commission yesterday described the attacks as mindless and heinous acts which could not be justified under any circumstance.
EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President, Ms. Catherine Ashton, in a statement strongly condemned the brutal attacks, describing it as mindless and heinous acts which could not be justified under any circumstance.
The commission expressed its support for Federal Government’s efforts to address the challenges posed by the sect in respect of human rights and rule of law through appropriate political and security means.
Also, the United Kingdom said it was saddened by the attacks and offered condolences to families of the victims.
UK’s Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, also issued a statement on Monday night, condemning the perpetrators of the violent acts.
“I was saddened to hear of the brutal attacks in Yobe and Borno States on Friday evening that killed and injured so many innocent people. I utterly condemn those who carried them out and I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
The Human Rights Watch also responded by saying: “Boko Haram has once again demonstrated its utter disregard for human life,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should act swiftly to bring to justice those responsible for these terrible crimes and for earlier attacks that left hundreds dead.”
Boko Haram’s major demand is to impose a stricter form of Sharia or Islamic law in 12 Northern states in Nigeria.
According to international media reports, a Boko Haram spokesperson, Abul Qaqa, said that Boko Haram took responsibility for the attacks and threatened further violence.
“We will continue attacking Federal Government formations until security forces stop persecuting our members and vulnerable civilians,” Qaqa said.
Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of attacks by suspected Boko Haram members over the past year including attacks on police stations, military facilities and prisons.
The US embassy in Nigeria had issued a warning to its citizens, alerting that the sect had plans to attack luxury hotels in Abuja. But the Nigerian intelligentsia has dismissed the warning, describing it as no big deal.