Nigeria Says U.S. Not Giving Enough Support to Fight Rebels

Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S. said Washington isn’t giving enough support in the fight against Islamist militants because it’s refusing to sell the country “lethal equipment” due to allegations of human rights abuses.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s government is “not satisfied with the scope, nature and content of the United States’ support for us in our struggle against terrorists,” Ade Adefuye said yesterday in Washington, according to a statement posted today on the Nigerian Embassy’s website. “We have made it clear to our American friends that the allegations of human rights violation cannot be substantiated by facts.”

Jonathan said in September that the militant group Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has killed more than 13,000 people in its five-year campaign to impose Islamic law in the country. In February, the U.S. State Department said the Nigerian security forces were among the worst human-rights abusers in Africa’s top oil producer.

Nigerian forces routinely use rape, assault and torture to punish detainees and extract confessions in violation of international law and the nation’s constitution, London-based Amnesty International said in September, allegations the government in Abuja denied.

“The terrorists threaten our corporate existence and territorial integrity,” Adefuye said. “There is no use giving us the type of support that enables us to deliver light jabs to the terrorists when what we need to give them is the killer punch.”

The violence in Nigeria’s northeast has also spawned a humanitarian crisis. The country’s National Emergency Management Agency said on Oct. 23 that almost 700,000 Nigerians had been displaced by conflict, as of end-September.

“Violence by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s northeast continues to send thousands of refugees across the border into neighboring Cameroon,” the United Nations refugee agency said today in a statement e-mailed from the Senegalese capital, Dakar. “According to Cameroonian authorities, some 13,000 Nigerian refugees crossed from Adamawa state after insurgents attacked and captured the town of Mubi in late October.”

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