Category Archives: Nigeria

Can $10 Billion End Nigeria’s Century-Long Oil War?

Magnus Boding Hansen writes for IRIN:

Image result for Can $10 billion end Nigeria’s century-long oil war?[…] The battle against criminality has intensified under President Muhammadu Buhari. The NSCDC has stepped up its patrols, and the army has launched Operation Crocodile Smile against armed militants, young men who claim they are fighting for a greater share of the wealth generated from their region.

The gunmen have responded with attacks on oil installations, the kidnapping of oil workers and assassinations. The military, so far, has avoided the heavy-handed clampdowns that were its tactics in the past.

It’s been a long struggle for the communities in the delta, who feel they’ve always been exploited by the powers that be. A century ago, it was over the valuable palm oil they produced. Now the fight has turned to crude.

What some call the “120 years’ oil war” began in January 1895, when 1,000 ethnic Brass men in 40 canoes sailed to an outpost of the colonial Royal Niger Company in the delta to protest the control the trading company had over the palm oil trade.

It was a violent confrontation, and they took 60 hostages. In revenge, three weeks later, the British Navy attacked a Brass village and massacred 300 people.

Many still celebrate King Koko, the leader of the Brass people at the time, as the first freedom fighter in an ongoing struggle for a fair distribution of oil wealth.

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David Cameron Accused of Gaffe After Telling Queen That Nigeria and Afghanistan Are ‘Fantastically Corrupt’

Tom Marshall reports for the London Evening Standard:

cameronqueen1005a.jpgDavid Cameron has been accused of a making a diplomatic gaffe after being overheard telling the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”.

The Prime Minister was caught on camera making the comments two days before the leaders of both countries are due in London to attend an anti-corruption summit, which he is hosting.

He was filmed telling the Queen: “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain.

“We’ve got Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”

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Why Are Parts of Nigeria’s Ruling Elite Supporting Boko Haram? Interview with Baba Aye

Jessica Desvarieux talks to United Action for Democracy’s Baba Aye who explains how Boko Haram rose with the support of Nigeria’s ruling elite and how there is now evidence pointing to their influence in the Nigerian Army and political establishment. (The Real News)

The Origins of Boko Haram

John Ford wrote in 2014 for The National Interest:

Boko Haram appeared in the consciousness of most Westerners for the first time in April [2014]. But the group is not a new arrival on the scene. It has been a growing force in Nigeria for over a decade and has deep roots in the country’s social development going back even further. Its rise is not an accident and signals the emergence of a dangerous, militant religious movement that threatens Nigeria’s survival as a nation-state.

Boko Haram’s story begins with a preacher named Mohammed Marwa, born in 1927. At about age eighteen, he moved to Kano, in what is today northern Nigeria, and began a career as a preacher. His sermons were extreme and often bizarre. He raged against Western culture and its popularity in Nigeria so virulently that he became known as Maitatsine, meaning “The one who damns.” He declared that reading any book other than the Koran was sinful and a sign of paganism. This included a prohibition on reading the Hadiths or Sunnah, the doctrinal equivalent of a Catholic Priest telling parishioners not to read the works of St. Augustine because they do not appear in the Bible. Near the end of his life, he came dangerously close to declaring that he, not Muhammad, was Allah’s true prophet.

At first, Maitatsine was ignored by Nigeria’s political leaders, but as his sermons became increasingly antigovernment in the late 1970s, the government cracked down. The crackdown culminated in an uprising in 1980, where Maitatsine’s followers in Kano began rioting against the government. The city descended into what scholar Elizabeth Isichei described as “virtually civil war.” The death toll from the 1982 riots and subsequent military crackdown was over 4,000 and Maitatsine himself was among those killed.

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Boko Haram Ranked Ahead of ISIS as World’s Deadliest Terror Group

Dionne Searcey and Marc Santora report for The New York Times:

As much of the world remains focused on the Islamic State and its horrific attacks in Paris, another radical band of extremists has, by one account, captured the infamous title of the world’s deadliest terrorist group: Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, the militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, was responsible for 6,664 deaths last year, more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic State, which killed 6,073 people in 2014, according to a report released Wednesday tracking terrorist attacks globally.

[…] Boko Haram has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State, but it is unclear what support the group is giving Boko Haram beyond assisting with publicity.

The report released Wednesday, from the Institute of Economics & Peace, said the Islamic State and Boko Haram were responsible for half of all global deaths attributed to terrorism.

Last year, the deaths attributed to Boko Haram alone increased by more than 300 percent, the report said.

The report found a drastic increase in terrorist attacks last year, with the majority occurring in three countries: Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, where other militant groups besides Boko Haram operate.

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Boko Haram renames itself Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP)

Adam Withnall reports for The Independent:

Men claimed to be Boko Haram fightersThe Isis militant group may have gained a firm foothold beyond the Middle East and North Africa for the first time, after Nigeria’s Boko Haram adopted the name “Islamic State’s West Africa Province” (Iswap).

The Nigerian terror group’s leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to Isis last month, but the diffuse organisation had appeared to continue to operate under its official name Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, Arabic for “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”.

Boko Haram, a nickname for the group meaning “Western education is forbidden”, has been used since the group was formed in 2002 when that was its main focus.

But now propaganda materials shared by Isis-affiliated social media accounts have dropped both those names for Iswap, and appear to share the slick production values and brazen style more usually associated with jihadists in Syria and Iraq.’

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Amnesty Report: Egypt, Nigeria Led World in Death Sentences in 2014

Cara Anna reports for the Associated Press:

Egypt and Nigeria accounted for well over 1,000 of the death sentences announced last year, more than a third of the world’s total, Amnesty International says in its latest annual report on the death penalty.

The London-based human rights group expressed alarm at the 28 percent jump in death sentences: 2,466 people in 55 countries were condemned to death in 2014. At least 607 people were executed in 22 countries last year.

[…] The countries with the most recorded executions last year were Iran with at least 289, Saudi Arabia with at least 90, Iraq with at least 61 and the United States with at least 35, the rights group said. In Iran, hundreds more executions were “not officially acknowledged” and the total could be as high as 743, the organization said.’

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Boko Haram is now a mini-Islamic State, with its own territory

David Blair reports for The Telegraph:

[…] Today, Boko Haram controls about 20,000 square miles of territory – an area the size of Belgium.

Within this domain, the black flag of jihad flies over scores of towns and villages scattered across the neighbouring states of Borno and Yobe.

The latest conquest was the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad, which fell to the Islamists last Wednesday.

[…] Boko Haram’s fighters have now achieved mastery over 11 local government areas with a total population exceeding 1.7 million people, according to the official 2006 census.

Once, the movement’s fighters would launch hit-and-run attacks on defenceless villages. Now, Boko Haram’s realm stretches from the Mandara Mountains on the eastern border with Cameroon to Lake Chad in the north and the Yedseram river in the west.

The Nigerian army, crippled by corruption and incompetence, has shown itself unable to resist the jihadist advance.’

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Boko Haram massacre is so big, survivors give up counting bodies

Two children on a dusty road and the words: "Last week's massacre in Baga was so enormous, defence groups said they gave up trying to count the bodies. One estimate puts the total number of dead at 2,000."

Boko Haram Destroys Nigerian City, 2,000 Reported Slain

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

In April 2013, a battle between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military left some 185 people in the city of Baga dead, and thousands of homes destroyed. Today, reports out of the region suggest Boko Haram has finished the job, and Baga is “virtually nonexistent.”

Details of the Wednesday attack are still emerging, but district officials say Boko Haram attacked 16 nearby towns before advancing on, and destroying, Baga, and that around 2,000 civilians are believed to have been killed.’

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Global terror attack deaths rose sharply in 2013, says report

Helier Cheung reports for BBC News:

GTI2014‘The number of deaths from terrorism increased by 61% between 2012 and 2013, a study into international terrorism says.

There were nearly 10,000 terrorist attacks in 2013, a 44% increase from the previous year, the Global Terrorism Index 2014 report added.

The report said militant groups Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban were behind most of the deaths.

Iraq was the country most affected by terrorism, the report said.

The report by the Institute for Economics and Peace says that nearly 18,000 people died from terrorist attacks in 2013.

“Not only is the intensity of terrorism increasing, its breadth is increasing as well,” it notes.’

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Is Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward Governance?

John Campbel writes for the Council on Foreign Relations:

MapThe Nigerian media is reporting that Boko Haram is firmly in control of Mubi, a strategically important town in Adamawa state. Apparently based on telephone contact with city residents and a few interviews with those who have fled, the media is presenting a Boko Haram effort to return the city to normal, albeit run according to Islamic law.

Boko Haram “leaders” in the city, not further identified, are urging residents who have fled to return. They have also ordered shops to reopen. A gasoline station has reopened in the neighboring town of Uba, and Boko Haram provided security for the weekly market in Mubi last week. There are reports that Boko Haram is paying for anything they take from the shops. The same “leaders” are also saying that residents are free to come and go and may use motorcycles, the use of which is banned in some parts of Adamawa still controlled by the government. Boko Haram is promising to provide residents with “security.”’

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Boko Haram ‘leader’, killed repeatedly, continues to threaten Nigeria

Tim Cocks reports for Reuters:

‘Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, or a man claiming to be him, has been killed at least three times so far, according to the military, yet each time he apparently returns in the group’s numerous jihadist videos.

Dead or alive, he appears to be fuelling violence which rights groups say is killing more people than at any time during Boko Haram’s five-year-old reign of terror in the north of the 175 million-strong state.

Officials say Shekau may be a name adopted by leaders of various wings of Boko Haram, raising the possibility the death of one may make others more amenable to negotiating an end to the fighting and release of 200 schoolgirls whose kidnap in April caused an international outcry.

The last time the military said he was dead a year ago, a man looking similar to Shekau but slightly fatter continued to appear in videos issuing threats and taunting authorities.’

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​Lagos: Africa’s Fastest Growing Megacity

MasterCard-backed biometric ID system launched in Nigeria

Megan Geuss reports for Arstechnica:

‘Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the first citizens to receive a National eID card, a biometric identification card that will be rolled out to 13 million Nigerians in the near future. Although a handful of countries already use biometric identification systems, Nigeria’s will be unique as its pilot program will be branded with MasterCard logos. The program will eventually be expanded to encompass the rest of the country’s adult population, and the BBC says that all Nigerians will be required to have such a card by 2019 if they wish to vote in the country’s upcoming elections.’

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African leaders seek fund to fight militant groups

Drazen Jorgic and Edith Honan report for Reuters:

‘African leaders proposed on Tuesday creating a special fund to combat Islamist militant groups growing in strength from Kenya to Nigeria. African Union (AU) states announced the idea after Nairobi talks on a problem highlighted on Tuesday by capture of a town in north-eastern Nigeria by Boko Haram militants. Fighting killed scores of people, according to security forces, and sent at least 5,000 fleeing.

A senior European Union official also told the summit that Islamic State’s gains in Iraq and Syria, where it controls vast swathes of territory, could help set off a competition between it and al Qaeda to become the leading Islamist militant group in Africa. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, where al Shabaab gunmen last September killed 67 people in a raid on a shopping mall, said African countries should stand together against the threat of Boko Haram and al Shabaab.’

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Pentagon set to open second drone base in Niger as it expands operations in Africa

Craig Whitlock reports for The Washington Post:

‘The Pentagon is preparing to open a drone base in one of the remotest places on Earth: an ancient caravan crossroads in the middle of the Sahara. After months of negotiations, the government of Niger, a landlocked West African nation, has authorized the U.S. military to fly unarmed drones from the mud-walled desert city of Agadez, according to Nigerien and U.S. officials.

The previously undisclosed decision gives the Pentagon another surveillance hub — its second in Niger and third in the region — to track Islamist fighters who have destabilized parts of North and West Africa. It also advances a little-publicized U.S. strategy to tackle counterterrorism threats alongside France, the former colonial power in that part of the continent.

Although the two allies have a sporadic history of quarreling when it comes to military action, U.S. and French troops have been working hand in glove as they steadily expand their presence in impoverished West Africa. Both countries are alarmed by the presence of jihadist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, that have taken root in states whose governments are unable to exert control over their own territory.’

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The Decline of the Fifth Republic: A Legacy of Imperialism

Alexander Reid Ross writes for CounterPunch:

‘After just two years in power, French Socialist François Hollande has become one of the least popular leaders in Europe. He has taken much of the blame for chipping away at France’s social wage and for the rise of the radical right wing. Rather than listening to his economy minister Arnaud Montebourg’s recap of Paul Krugman’s critique of “absurd” fiscal cuts, Hollande has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Emanuel Valls, dissolved his entire government, and ordered Valls to form a new cabinet. The question is not only whether Hollande can still call himself a socialist, but whether the French Fifth Republic can hold on.

The immediate response is that this is just a shakeup, typical of the rebellious style of French political life. But what if there is something much deeper at play? When the Fourth Republic fell in 1958, it was due to the coming dissolution of France’s colonial empire, beginning with Algeria. The French army swept through the backdoors of the French Republic, and in a rapid coup d’etat, overthrew the republican system, reinstating Charles de Gaulle as leader.

Although de Gaulle allowed the government to return to a quasi-democratic process, Gaullism has remained a hard kernel in French politics, emerging powerfully in the 1970s and again for 17 years through the Party for a Popular Movement’s big hitters, Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy, after a window of Socialist governance by François Mitterand in the 1980s. The chief reason for the recent shakeup in the French government is not only Montebourg’s claims that financial matters have been mishandled, but his insistence on comparing Hollande unfavorable to Margaret Thatcher and to de Gaulle, himself!’

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Boko Haram leader declares Islamic caliphate in Nigeria

Jessica Chasmar reports for The Washington Times:

‘A northeast Nigerian town seized earlier this month by Boko Haram militants has been placed under an Islamic caliphate, the group’s leader said. “Thanks be to Allah, who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Abubakar Shekau says in a 52-minute video obtained by the Agence France-Presse. “By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”

In the video, Mr. Shekau lauds the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere,” AFP reported. It was not clear, however, if Mr. Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Mr. Baghdadi’s caliphate or if he was referring to a separate caliphate in Nigeria.’

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Nigeria ‘on red alert’ over Ebola death in Lagos

From BBC News:

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wearing protective gear walk outside the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on 23 July 2014 in Conakry.‘Nigeria says it has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus. The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

Surveillance has been stepped up at all “airports, seaports and land borders”, says Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu. Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date. It began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.’

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Nigeria wraps up kidnap investigation with 200 girls still missing

Felix Onuah reports for Reuters:

‘Nigeria wrapped up its inquiry into the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by militants on Friday with little progress to show, reporting almost none had been freed after the initial kidnapping some girls escaped from. Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo said 219 girls remained at large, a total virtually unchanged since Boko Haram militants stormed their secondary school in northeast Borno state on April 14 to kidnap them.

A total of 57 girls, almost all of whom escaped shortly after the abduction, have been reunited with their families, he added. The kidnapping of the teenage girls taking exams in Chibok village sparked global outrage for its sheer barbarity. The government’s failure to rescue the girls, or protect them before their abduction, has become a political liability for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of elections next year.’

READ MORE @ REUTERS…

Report: Millions driven from homes by civic violence

Robert Evans reports for Reuters:

‘A record 33.3 million people around the world were internally displaced by conflict in their countries at the end of last year, 16 percent or 4.5 million up on 2012, an international report said on Wednesday. The report by the Norwegian Refugee Council said nearly two thirds of the global total were in just five countries – Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan.

Syria, with at least 6,5 million driven from their homes in three years of fighting between government forces and insurgents and foreign fighters backing them, took over first place ahead of Colombia, suffering from decades of guerrilla wars. The Middle Eastern country accounted for 43 per cent – 3.5 million – of all the new internally displaced people (IDPs) around the globe in 2013, a total of 8.2 million, according to the report presented at a Geneva news briefing.’

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Did the U.S. War in Libya Boost Boko Haram in Nigeria?

From the Institute for Public Accuracy:

Baraka is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He has written extensively on Africa and just wrote the piece “From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry,” which states: “Seemingly out of nowhere, Boko Haram burst into the awareness of people around the world as a shadowy group of Islamists with the ability to carry out audacious attacks that paralyzed the army of the most populous country in Africa. People now want to know the group’s origins, where they came from, why they are kidnapping girls and how they became such a powerful threat. All important questions — but questions that cannot be answered by just looking at the internal politics of Nigeria, as important as those are, because Boko Haram is incomprehensible when decontextualized from the destabilization, death and destruction unleashed across Africa from the Sahel into West Africa as a result of one historic event — the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.’

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The Roots of Nigeria’s Chaos: Interview with Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey: ‘Years of Western backed military dictatorship and unfettered plunder by oil companies have created enormous disparity in wealth and a corrupt political elite – a breeding ground for extremism’ (The Real News)

Nafeez Ahmed: Behind the rise of Boko Haram – ecological disaster, oil crisis, spy games

Nafeez Ahmed writes for The Guardian:

#BringBackOurGirls protest outside the Nigerian consulate in South Africa. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP‘The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls, and the massacre of as many as 300 civilians in the town of Gamboru Ngala, by the militant al-Qaeda affiliated group, Boko Haram, has shocked the world. But while condemnations have rightly been forthcoming from a whole range of senior figures from celebrities to government officials, less attention has been paid to the roots of the crisis.

Instability in Nigeria, however, has been growing steadily over the last decade – and one reason is climate change. In 2009, a UK Department for International Development (Dfid) study warned that climate change could contribute to increasing resource shortages in the country due to land scarcity from desertification, water shortages, and mounting crop failures.

…Apart from the fact that the west has been content to turn a blind eye to these problems by propping up the corrupt Nigerian government while accelerating oil and gas deals, there is a further complication. Abundant evidence shows that al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) have exploited the rise of Boko Haram to gain increasing control of the Nigerian militant movement. What we’re not being told, however, is that al-Qaeda’s rapid expansion through northwest Africa has occurred under the rubric of Algerian state intelligence services – with US, French and British knowledge.’

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Everything Is A Threat: The Fear-Mongering and Hysteria Over Boko Haram

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

‘The hysteria that has erupted over the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram over the last few days has been remarkable. The terrorist group abducted hundreds of girls and, thanks to a viral awareness campaign and threats from Washington to intervene, Boko Haram suddenly became America’s new Great Menace that presents an existential threat to the United States.

CNN’s Erin Burnett was particularly unhinged in the show that aired last night. “Boko Haram’s brutal violence includes burning people alive in mosques and churches and slitting the throats of students,” she warned her audience of people who surely have never heard of the group before. “Even among extremist groups, their tactics are vile.”

“You could describe them as the Taliban that have taken it to the next level,” retired U.S. Gen. James Marks said, “maybe a Taliban on steroids.” Boko Haram “is an absolutely horrible, beyond definition horrible organization that clearly needs to go away completely and we have to facilitate their departure.”

Burnett and her U.S. military guests were sure to bring the threat of Boko Haram back to America, cognizant of the risk of giving the impression that this is a Nigerian problem that’s none of our business. Gen. Carter Ham, former Second in Command at the Pentagon’s Africa Command warned, “They certainly present a very, very significant risk in Nigeria, more broadly across the region, and the leaders of Boko Haram have been very clear for the past couple of years that they aspire to attacking Westerners and specifically the United States, its people, and its interests.”’

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Editor’s Note: The articles below from 2011 are well worth reading as they show that the U.S. has been involved in Nigeria (and many other African countries) since at least 2011. All of them are cited in the above piece by John Glaser. This whole #bringbackourgirls campaign has a similar stench to Kony 2012. 

How Not to “Bring Back our Girls”

Margaret Kimberley writes for Black Agenda Report:

‘Hundreds of Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters, three weeks ago. The abductions got very little media coverage, so the wave of U.S. revulsion is only now surfacing. Americans urge their government to “do something,” but know next to nothing about the Nigerian political crisis, since there has not been “a single television news story about Boko Haram in 2013.”

Bring back our girls. The message is a simple one that resonates with millions of people around the world. Those four words were first seen in a now famous twitter hashtag in the aftermath of the kidnapping of 280 teenagers from a school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14, 2014. The Boko Haram group which is fighting that country’s government admits to holding the girls captive. Only people who closely follow international news were aware of this situation until last week. It is right that so many people are concerned for the girls’ safety. Unfortunately, the effort to draw attention to this horror is of little use without a deeper understanding of Africa’s political situation.

Because western nations continue to interfere in Africa’s affairs and place compliant “strong men” in power, nearly every government on that continent is weak. Presidents and prime ministers exist only to enrich elites and ensure that valuable resources reach the western capitalist nations. It seems ludicrous that Nigerian president Goodluck Johnathan at first denied that the kidnap had taken place, and then vacillated between claiming that the girls had been recovered or that the number captured was smaller than reported. Hashtags and petitions are a poor substitute for a government whose infrastructure is dedicated to producing and delivering oil to the West but not doing very much for its own citizens.’

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John Glaser: Hillary Clinton, Boko Haram, and the Meaningless Politics of the US Terrorist List

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

 ‘A political sideshow to the escalating focus on the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram is what it means for Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects. Boko Haram was not officially designated a terrorist group until Clinton stepped down and John Kerry became Secretary of State. This, Republicans tell us, reveals she is weak on terrorism and doesn’t have the leadership or foresight to keep the country safe as president.

To try and make a substantive political point on the basis of the farcical and arbitrary State Department terrorist list is laughable. The “official list” is so fickle and ludricous as to be useless in any serious political discussion except to demonstrate how illegitimate it is. As I wrote last month:

The government puts individuals or groups on and takes them off according to its interests at the time: Nelson Mandela was on it before he became admired by the world as a man of peace, Saddam Hussein was on it until the U.S. decided it wanted to support him militarily against Iran in the 1980s, the Iranian group MEK was on it until 2012 when the U.S. decided having an Iranian dissident group off the terrorist list could be in its benefit, etc.

And of course, any militant groups that the U.S. wants to aid with money and weapons can’t be on the terrorist list, even if they conduct terrorist operations.’

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Amnesty: Nigeria warned of Boko Haram raid at girls school, failed to act

Vladimir Duthiers, Isha Sesay and Chelsea J. Carter report for CNN:

‘What did the Nigerian government know about the mass abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants, and when did it know it? Those are the tough questions being asked after an explosive report made public Friday accused Nigerian military commanders of knowing the terror group was on its way to raid a boarding school in the town of Chibok at least four hours before 276 girls were abducted.

The findings by human rights group Amnesty International echo accounts of a number of the parents and villagers, who have described to CNN an ineffective military response in the days and weeks after the girls were abducted. President Goodluck Jonathan’s government vowed to investigate the allegations even as it defended its military response and questioned the motive behind the accounts.’

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Even Al Qaeda decries Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings

Cheryl K. Chumley reports for The Washington Times:

‘Even al Qaeda has come out in opposition to the kidnappings of hundreds of Nigerian school girls, saying their abduction and planned sale into slavery does not honor Islam. On a website used by Islamic radicals, one poster criticized the abductions: “Such news is spread to taint the image of the Mujahedeen,” The New York Times reported. Two-hundred and seventy-six of the girls are still missing, and defiant Boko Haram radical members have vowed to sell them at an auction block. Now, some Islam-based and jihad groups have spoken out against the abductions, saying they pray that God will touch the kidnappers and “hold them steady to the path” of Islam, The Times reported.

Al Qaeda leaders, for instance, have been cautioning members and supporters to back off attacks on civilian innocents — a public relations move aimed at keeping its base together, Newsmax reported. But Boko Haram — which means “Western education is sinful” in the northern Nigerian language of Hausa — is much more violent, intent on spreading its view of Islam even if it involves mass murders and bloody confrontations, The Times reported.’

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