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Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Nigeria, Boko Haram Not America’s Priority, Says Retired US Army Chief
Maj. Gen James Marks
The Executive Dean, College of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Phoenix, Major Gen. James ‘Spider’ Marks, has said that the growing insecurity and pogrom in the North-eastern part of Nigeria is not a priority to the United States of America.
Marks, who retired after 30 years of service in the US Army, said this in an interview on CNN, which has since gone viral.
Responding to questions on why over 40 world leaders including about four million people took to the streets in France when 17 people were killed by terrorists recently, whereas during the same period, over 2,000 people were allegedly massacred in Baga, Borno State without any global outcry, the ex-military general maintained that Nigeria and the entire black Africa was not a priority for the US.
He explained: “The stack difference is that while world leaders are in complete solidarity and outrage against what happened in France vis-à-vis Nigeria. Truly, that should be surprising because what is happening in Nigeria is real madness, but it is not a priority.
“The United States can do anything it needs to do to rid Nigeria of Boko Haram, it could be a long-term effort, but it can be done. The US has the capability, we have all the elements and power, but it is not a priority.”
Continuing, he said: “This is the problem, we are committed elsewhere in the world, but black or Western Africa is not the priority. That is the case right now and it may be hard to say. Boko Haram is a regional issue.
“But if it appears in some other regions of the world, like white Africa, which is North Africa, or in the Middle East or somewhere else, we would be alarmed. But it is a regional issue.”
About 2,000 people were said to have been killed in Baga. However, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) last week put the figure of those massacred at 150, while satellite images released by Amnesty International showed the large-scale destruction in the area.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram yesterday freed two dozen hostages after a mass abduction by its militants in Cameroun, as Chad prepares to engage in the international battle against the extremist group.
Twenty-four of the 80 people taken hostage by Boko Haram in the north of Cameroun Sunday were released as Cameroonian armed forces pursued the Islamist extremists, according to a government source.
The Boko Haram fighters then fled back into Nigeria, with the fate of the rest of the hostages taken in the raid, the worst of its kind to date, still unknown.
An army officer based in Cameroun’s far north said Boko Haram had attacked two villages and kidnapped what Camerounian state media said were 80 hostages.
As the militants retreated, the Chadian army said it was putting 400 military vehicles, attack helicopters, and still unspecified number of soldiers amassed in northern Cameroun into action against Boko Haram, as part of what has become a regional effort to defeat the notoriously violent group.
“We are going to advance Modnay towards the enemy,” Chadian army colonel Djerou Ibrahim, who is leading the offensive against Boko Haram, told AFP from the strategic crossroads town of Maltam in northern Cameroun.
“Our mission is to hunt down Boko Haram, and we have all the means to do that.”
But Camerounian Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, warned that the armies of the two nations still had considerable planning to complete before being able to launch offensives against Boko Haram.
“Military planners must evaluate the forces being coordinated and coalesced,” he said. “That takes time. Don’t expect to start seeing the results of that tomorrow."