Clinton Presses Nigeria President on Security

Posted August 9th, 2012 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Nigeria's president to adopt new strategies to halt escalating violence.

Clinton traveled to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Thursday, where she held talks with President Goodluck Jonathan and his security team.

VOA's correspondent Anne Look, who is traveling with Clinton, said the security talks were to focus on northern Nigeria, where radical Islamist group Boko Haram is blamed for scores of attacks.

Clinton was expected to press for a strategy that addresses grievances that have led to the unrest.

“One that incorporates not only a security strategy but also more of a social and economic strategy to deal with poverty and the sense of marginalization in northern Nigeria that has been attributed to the Boko Haram movement. She will be calling for better coordination between northern Nigeria's various intelligence services — police, military, the state security service. And offering American assistance to coordinate those efforts.”

Later Thursday, Clinton travels to Ghana where she will meet with new President John Mahama.

On Friday, she is scheduled to attend the funeral of Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, who died suddenly last month.

Clinton's nearly two-week tour of Africa will then take her to Benin.

Nigeria has experienced a surge in militant and sectarian violence over the past two years. Rights groups say Boko Haram has killed more than 1,000 people in shootings and bombings that mostly target authority figures, government buildings, and churches.

Some church attacks have sparked riots and retaliation by Christian gangs.

The country of 160 million people is split roughly in half between the Muslim-dominated north and largely Christian south.