Friday, January 27, 2012

Identify Yourself for Dialogue, Nigerian President Jonathan Tells Boko Haram

Identify yourselves for dialogue, Jonathan tells Boko Haram

Nigeria National Mirror

President Goodluck Jonathan President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday challenged the Boko Haram Islamic sect to identify themselves and state clearly their demands as a basis for talks, even as he acknowledged that military confrontation alone will not end their insurgency. Jonathan, in an interview with a foreign news agency at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said there was no doubt that Boko Haram had links with other jihadist groups outside Nigeria.

The sect killed more than 500 people last year and more than 250 in the first weeks of 2012 in gun and bomb attacks, according to Human Rights Watch. Coordinated attacks in Kano last Friday left 186 people dead in its most deadly strike to date, prompting the president to visit surviving victims.

If they clearly identify themselves now and say this is the reason why we are resisting, this is the reason why we are confronting government or this is the reason why we destroy some innocent people and their properties, then there will be a basis for dialogue. We will dialogue, let us know your problems and we will solve your problem but if they dont identify themselves, who will you dialogue with, said Jonathan.

The President pledged to bring development to the remote, semi-arid corners of the country where high youth unemployment has provided easy recruits for extremists.

Military confrontation alone will not eliminate terror attacks, an enabling environment for young people to find jobs is also needed .Our commitment is to make sure our irrigation programs are all revitalised so most of these young people are engaged in productive agriculture and will not be free for them to recruit as political thugs, he said.

As well as coming under fire for his handling of the crisis in the north, President Jonathan suffered a week of vitriolic anti-government protests this month when attempt was made to scrap fuel subsidies, part of efforts to cut the fiscal costs, but was forced to partly reinstate it.

This prompted the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to announce a raft of measures aimed at defusing public anger about the extent of corruption and mismanagement in the sector, including setting up a new committee to hurry along the stalled Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.


Pan-African News Wire said...

Boko Haram’s leader rejects talks, threatens

On January 28, 2012

Leader of the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram, Imam Abubakar Shekau, has rejected offers for a negotiated peace, instead promising to kidnap government officials’ family members and bomb schools, according to an Internet audio message allegedly posted by the group.

The 40-minute message also for the first time discusses Boko Haram’s goal: Complete adoption of Islam across Nigeria. Shekau said he remains prepared to order more violence to accomplish that.

“If (Nigerian security forces) are going to places of worship and destroying them, like mosques and Quranic schools, you have primary schools as well, you have secondary schools and universities and we will start bombing them,” Shekau said. “Touch us and see. That is what we will do.” He threatened President Goolduck Jonathan and expressed doubt over the president’s call for dialogue.

Speaking at times in Arabic, English and the Hausa language of Nigeria’s Muslim north, Shekau said negotiations suggested by President Goodluck Jonathan between the sect and the government will not happen. “He’s lying. He cannot do it,” Shekau said. “If Jonathan does not repent as a Muslim, even if I die myself, Jonathan’s going to see. He’s looking at me like I’m nobody, but he’ll see.”

Gunmen from the sect armed with explosives and assault rifles, some wearing army and police uniforms, others suicide car bombers, attacked police stations, immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria’ secret police. However, Shekau denied killing civilians in the attack, claiming the sect’s gunmen tried to protect the more than 9 million people who live in the important city in Nigeria’s north.

“We’re killing police officers, we’re killing soldiers and other government people who are fighting Allah and Christians who are killing Muslims and talking badly about our Islamic religion,” Shekau said. “I am not against anyone, but if Allah asks me to kill someone, I will kill him and I will enjoy killing him like I am killing a chicken.”

Pan-African News Wire said...

US citizen freed a week after kidnapping in Nigeria

Sat, January 28 2012 04:24

Yenagoa, Nigeria (ANTARA News/Reuters) - A U.S. citizen working for Marubeni Corp who was kidnapped in Nigeria`s oil rich Niger Delta on Jan. 20 has been released, police and the U.S. embassy said on Friday.

Gunmen kidnapped the man last Friday in the southeastern town of Warri. They killed his driver and demanding a 50 million naira ($310,300) ransom, a security source said.

"The US citizen kidnapped a week ago has been released by his captors," Charles Muka, police spokesman for Delta state, said, identifying him as William Gregory, 50. "We are informed by the company he works for that no ransom was paid."

A spokeswoman in the U.S. embassy said: "I can confirm he was released, but can`t comment further."

The Niger Delta, heartland of Africa`s biggest oil and gas industry, is prone to bouts of unrest and riven by militant factions. Gangs use guns and speedboats to run criminal fiefdoms that profit from kidnapping, robbery and oil theft.

Militant activity decreased after an amnesty for several commanders in 2009, but the region remains volatile.

Gangs in the region usually kidnap for ransoms rather than for political or ideological reasons.

The German Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that a German citizen had been kidnapped in northern Nigeria, where a violent Islamist sect is waging an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan`s government.