The United States of America, Thursday restated its commitment to joining the Federal Government and counter terrorism experts in wiping out Boko Haram in Nigeria.
In a statement during the eighth annual Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSTP), chaired by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Thomas-Greenfield expressed dismay at the incessant killing of civilians in the northern region of Nigeria by Boko Haram, while in Libya, Tunisia and Mali, Algeria and Niger Republic, terrorists continue to capitalise on the relative political instability in those countries, “but the stakes for TSCTP have never been higher than they are today,” Thomas-Greenfield asserted.
According to the US Bureau of African Affairs, sponsors of the conference, in the past 18 months, there had been rising political instability in Libya, Tunisia, and Mali as terrorists capitalise on this to carry out attacks against civilians.
“Indeed, events in Mali raised hard questions. We should continue to seek broad understanding of the lessons learned from Mali. However, it is important to note that despite this setback we experienced, the region as a whole responded rapidly to events in Mali, which was possible in part due to international support, including TSCTP’s enduring engagement and capacity-building efforts,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Addressing the conference, Thomas-Greenfield noted that last year underscored the real threat posed by al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, or “AQIM,” and associated violent extremist groups throughout this vulnerable region. “But at the same time,” Thomas-Greenfield noted, 2012 underscored the resolve of governments and civil society groups to counter that threat. African forces – many of them U.S.-trained – responded to the situation in Mali and worked alongside the French military to push back AQIM from safe havens in northern Mali,” where Nigeria along with UN troops fought to repel the activities of these terrorists while helping to re-direct the country along an elected democratic government, which has largely weakened the base of the terrorists and rebel allies.
“The intervention left AQIM scattered, fractured, and demoralised. And then, Malians took to the polls in a historic democratic election – an election that was a powerful rebuke to the restrictive rule and violent extremist ideology that AQIM imposed,” Thomas-Greenfield noted.