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Force Alone Can’t Stop Boko Haram – US Commander

Force Alone Can’t Stop Boko Haram – US Commander

The Commander of the United States Africa Command, Gen. Carter Ham, has said the  Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria can not be brought to an end through the use of force alone.

Ham in a lecture at the National Defence College on Tuesday in Abuja, said while the military had important roles to play in the polity, social, economic and judicial issues must be addressed in the quest for lasting solutions to the violence in the country.

He said, “You don’t need me as an outsider to lecture you about Boko Haram; you must understand this problem far better than I ever will.

“Although, security forces have a prominent role in addressing Boko Haram, an effective, lasting solution will require a broad-based strategy that addresses the social and economic issues and uses judicial tools to prosecute the perpetrators of violence.

“Another way to say this is that, as in so many other situations, those of us in the military provide an essential but non-decisive capability in support of an overarching, comprehensive strategy.”

Ham also identified counter-terrorism as the priority of the  United States government in Africa.

The commander, who called attention to the evolving threats of terrorism to global peace said he was worried by the link between AlQaeda and various groups, including Boko Haram.

He noted that while it was true that Al-Qaeda had been weakened, the group had continually relied on affiliates around the world especially in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa to carry out their attacks.

He said the increasing liaison between the group and their ability to carry out terror attacks was even a more worrisome threat to African and US security interests.

Ham stated, “What is particularly worrisome to me is the increasing linkage between various elements of the network, which significantly increases the ability of violent extremist organisations to threaten regional security and broader African and US security interests.

“For example, reported communications, training and weapons linkages between Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM in North Africa, Al Shabaab in Somalia, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen, and Boko Haram have strengthened the overall  network’s capacity to export violence.”

The AFRICOM Commander, who also spoke on the crisis in Mali, said the crisis in the country remained the “challenge of the moment” to the international community.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday appealed to the US to assist his administration in tackling the deluge of security challenges in the country.

He named the activities of  Boko Haram, kidnapping crude oil theft and insecurity in the nation’s maritime borders as some of the challenges the US government should help Nigeria to tackle.

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