U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should encourage Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to address “increasingly deadly violence” by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group and end impunity for ethnic clashes, Human Rights Watch said.
Clinton “should also raise security-force abuses, corruption and lack of accountability” when she meets the president of Africa’s top oil producer tomorrow, the New York-based watchdog told her in a letter yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement today.
“Nigeria is facing a surge of violence and lawlessness that has blighted the lives of thousands of Nigerians,” Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “Nigeria’s leaders need to confront this violence, whether committed by Boko Haram or the country’s security forces.”
Clinton’s visit to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, is part of an Africa tour that includes Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, South Sudan and South Africa.
Nigeria has suffered a series of bomb and gun attacks since 2009 in its mainly Muslim north and in Abuja. Assaults by Boko Haram have left more than 1,400 people dead since 2010, Human Rights Watch said. In January, Jonathan said the group poses a more serious threat to the country than the 1967-1970 Biafra civil war.
The group, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, wants Islamic rule in Africa’s most populous nation of more than 160 million people. The country is almost evenly split between the north and the predominantly Christian south.