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US envoy concerned at Boko Haram insurgency

04 February 2014, 17:58

Lagos - Geeta Pasi,the United States Ambassador to Djibouti, raised concern at the insecurity challenges posed by the militant Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.

Presenting the keynote address at the ongoing Gulf of Aden Regional Counterterrorism Forum that the Horn of Africa is hosting, Pasi mentioned the Boko Haram among the major challenges afflicting the different parts of the world.

“Before discussing the Gulf of Aden region, I would like to mention briefly the tumultuous events of the past three-plus years in the Middle East and North Africa, which have complicated the counterterrorism picture. Arms proliferation in the wake of the revolution in Libya and civil and political strife in Mali presented terrorists with new opportunities to take advantage of regional instability.

Foreign fighters from Europe, North Africa, and South Asia have traveled to Syria to join the fight with the Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” said the Ambassador.

Pasi singled out the Boko Haram, whose activities President Goodluck Jonathan recently said was the biggest challenge Nigeria was dealing with.

“Meanwhile, in West Africa, we are seeing a loosely organized collection of factions known as Boko Haram – some of them with ties to al-Qa’ida in the Maghreb – exploiting the grievances of northern Nigerians to gain recruits and public sympathy.

The number and sophistication of Boko Haram’s attacks are increasing, and while the group focuses principally on local Nigerian issues and actors, there is evidence that it is developing financial and training links with other violent extremists in West Africa,” Pasi noted at the event that ends on Wednesday.

The envoy called for the building of new partnerships, strengthening existing partnerships, and helping other countries foster collaborative relationships with partner nations that are all vital to our counterterrorism efforts.

“While the people of the Gulf of Aden region will determine their own course, the United States can provide a wide variety of advice and assistance to civilian institutions, with a particular focus on countries transitioning from emergency counterterrorism laws to a rule-of-law framework.

Ultimately, counterterrorism and rule of law goals are closely aligned and reinforce one another. It is important that, in our zeal to protect our citizens, we not weaken their legal rights and protections.”

- CAJ News


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