Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan appealed for more US help in fighting Boko Haram, as the militants struck again on Saturday and called for a boycott of upcoming general elections.
The head of state for the first time claimed direct links between the radicals who have been waging a six-year insurgency in Nigeria and the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. He told the Wall Street Journalist in an interview: “Are they (the United States) not fighting ISIS? Why can’t they come to Nigeria?
“They are our friends. If Nigeria has a problem, then I expect the US to come and assist us.” But Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said that there are no plans to send US troops to Nigeria. “I can tell you that there are no plans as I speak here to send unilaterally, to send or to add US troops into Nigeria. There are no US troops operating in Nigeria,” he told reporters.
Kirby said that the United States was in the early phases of helping establish a multi-national task force of African nations to help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram. Jonathan’s comments were published as hundreds of Islamist fighters invaded the northeastern city of Gombe, firing heavy guns and throwing leaflets calling for locals to shun the elections.
The attack, which began at about 9:00am, saw residents flee and the authorities impose a 24-hour lock-down in the city, which Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted. Boko Haram has opened up two new fronts in its campaign to create a hard-line Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, pushing into neighboring Nigerlast week and for the first time on Friday, Chad.
It has also increased the frequency and intensity of its attacks on northern Cameroon. The increasing regional threat has led to the deployment of troops from all three countries, reflecting security fears.
SOURCE: Agencies / DailyTimes.com.pk