Nigeria Cites Progress in Battling Boko Haram

Posted April 19th, 2012 at 4:25 am (UTC-5)
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Nigeria's Information Minister tells VOA his country's security forces have made enormous progress in combating the threat posed by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, especially in the federal capital, Abuja.

Labaran Maku's comment follows a U.S. emergency warning issued Wednesday to its citizens in Nigeria of possible attacks by Boko Haram on hotels used by Westerners.

Maku says Nigeria respects the U.S. opinion, but he believes the warning may not serve an overall good.

“Quiet cooperation, sharing of information, acting together on such matters often give more results than these occasional public statements, which often hardly help the situation”.

The U.S. embassy cautioned citizens to be especially aware of their security near Nigerian government facilities, diplomatic missions, large gathering places, markets and places of worship.

Boko Haram is believed to have killed about 1,000 people since it began violent operations in 2009, including attacks on churches, the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria, police stations and other government buildings.

Maku rejects criticism that the Nigerian government has not done enough to end the Boko Haram threat.

“Because this is not a standing army we are following, it is not a war in which you can set a date that it be defeated today. But definitely the idea is to continue to struggle to minimize and to reduce to the barest minimum, which is exactly what the Nigerian government and people and security forces have been doing.”

Maku blames what he called the “onlooker media” for giving Boko Haram its notoriety.

He added that it will take mutual cooperation to create the environment where terrorism can be defeated.