Amid continued attacks by militants in Northern Nigeria targeting police, government offices and other groups, the United States has reached out to the West African nation’s leaders to help find ways to restore peace and stability.
An American delegation led by senior diplomats and military officials met with their Nigerian counterparts for two days in Abuja recently to discuss regional security cooperation. The discussions were open and frank, and addressed the need not only for stepping up the security response to the threat posed by the group known as Boko Haram, but also on political and economic reforms to benefit the people of the region. Both sides acknowledged that innocent civilians must be protected during government security actions, and that human rights violations have no place in professional security operations. The U.S. has a long-standing relationship with the Nigerian government in its security and peace-keeping efforts, and to help address the actions taken by the militants, additional collaboration may include training, intelligence sharing, security service modernization and logistics.
Independent human rights groups estimate that more than 900 people have died in a wave of bombings, drive-by shootings and other violence dating to 2009. One hundred eighty five people alone were killed January 20 in a bomb attack in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city. The United States strongly condemns the attacks and extends our condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of this senseless violence.
This is a time for all Nigerians to stand united against the enemies of civility and peace.