Nigeria’s President Seeks $1 Billion Loan to Fight Boko Haram

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan requested permission from parliament to borrow $1 billion to help equip the armed forces in its fight against the Islamist-insurgent group Boko Haram.

“I would like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our armed forces and security services to enable them to more forcefully confront this serious threat,” Jonathan said in a letter dated July 15 and read out today in the capital, Abuja, by Senate President David Mark. The $1 billion may be sourced from other governments, said Jonathan.

Though $6 billion was allocated to defense and security this year’s budget, Nigeria’s government is struggling to curtail a five-year-old insurgency by Boko Haram militants, who are seeking to impose Islamic law on Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation of about 170 million people.

Boko Haram, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, drew global outrage with its April 14 abduction of 276 schoolgirls from their dormitories in the northeastern town of Chibok. The group has killed at least 2,053 civilians in about 95 attacks in the first six months of the year, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

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