Rifts Between U.S. and Nigeria Impeding Fight Against Boko Haram

Helene Cooper, New York Times, January 24, 2015

Relations between American military trainers and specialists advising the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram are so strained that the Pentagon often bypasses the Nigerians altogether, choosing to work instead with security officials in the neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger, according to defense officials and diplomats.

Major rifts like these between the Nigerian and American militaries have been hampering the fight against Boko Haram militants as they charge through northern Nigeria, razing villages, abducting children and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

{snip}

But American officials are wary of the Nigerian military as well, citing corruption and sweeping human rights abuses by its soldiers. American officials are hesitant to share intelligence with the Nigerian military because they contend it has been infiltrated by Boko Haram, an accusation that has prompted indignation from Nigeria.

{snip}

The United States was so concerned about Boko Haram infiltration that American officials have not included raw data in intelligence they have provided Nigeria, worried that their sources would be compromised.

In retaliation, Nigeria in December canceled the last stage of American training of a newly created Nigerian Army battalion. There has been no resumption of the training since then.

{snip}

The tensions have been mounting for years. In their battle against Boko Haram, Nigerian troops have rounded up and killed young men in northern cities indiscriminately, rampaged through neighborhoods and, according to witnesses and local officials, killed scores of civilians in a retaliatory massacre in a village in 2013.

Refugees said the soldiers set fire to homes, shot residents and caused panicked people to flee into the waters of Lake Chad, where some drowned.

Last summer, the United States blocked the sale of American-made Cobra attack helicopters to Nigeria from Israel, amid concerns about Nigeria’s protection of civilians when conducting military operations. That further angered the Nigerian government, and Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States responded sharply, accusing Washington of hampering the effort.

{snip}

All the while, Boko Haram has continued its ruthless push through Nigeria, bombing schools and markets, torching thousands of buildings and homes, and kidnapping hundreds of people.

Now stretching into its sixth year, the militant group’s insurgency has left thousands of people dead, the overwhelming majority of them civilians. It killed an estimated 2,000 civilians in the first six months of 2014 alone, Human Rights Watch said, and many of Nigeria’s major cities–Abuja, Kano, Kaduna–have been bombed.

American officials say that while it is unclear exactly how much territory Boko Haram effectively controls in Nigeria, the group is, at the very least, conducting attacks across almost 20 percent of the country.

{snip}

Even before the Nigerians canceled the training program in December, American military officials were stewing when soldiers showed up without proper equipment. Given the nation’s oil wealth, the Americans attributed the deficits to chronic corruption on the part of Nigerian commanders, saying that they had pocketed the money meant for their soldiers.

{snip}

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  • But American officials are wary of the Nigerian military as well, citing corruption and sweeping human rights abuses by its soldiers. American officials are hesitant to share intelligence with the Nigerian military because they contend it has been infiltrated by Boko Haram, an accusation that has prompted indignation from Nigeria.

    It could be infiltration, but as much it could also be a matter of typical black sloppiness and incompetence and insouciance. Keeping it real.

    The tensions have been mounting for years. In their battle against Boko Haram, Nigerian troops have rounded up and killed young men in northern cities indiscriminately, rampaged through neighborhoods and, according to witnesses and local officials, killed scores of civilians in a retaliatory massacre in a village in 2013.

    The “young men” didn’t get a hashtag. The girls got one, though.

    All the while, Boko Haram has continued its ruthless push through Nigeria, bombing schools and markets, torching thousands of buildings and homes, and kidnapping hundreds of people.

    You’re telling me that a disciplined, single-minded coherent group with some commonality and also the will to power is cutting through a lame generic rootless democratic republic like a hot knife through warm butter?

  • David Ashton

    A whiter shade of pale?

    • propagandaoftruth

      “American officials are hesitant to share intelligence with the Nigerian military because…”

      It’s utterly pointless.

  • JohnEngelman

    Militant Islam is an existential threat to the West. In the third world we should give aid to anyone who is willing to fight it. Except for occasional raids by special operations units we should avoid putting our servicemen at risk. We should not expect our allies in these conflicts to fight fair.

    • Zimriel

      We should however expect them to fight competently. And there’s the problem with outsourcing the efforts to Nigeria’s political-class . . .

      • JohnEngelman

        We can expect the Nigerian military and local Christian militias to fight at least as competently as Boko Haram does. If they are willing to fight Boko Haram that is all we should care about. If they sell weapons to Boko Haram, that is another matter entirely.

        We should use the same principles when fighting ISIS.

        • evilsandmich

          Yeah it sounded to me like the Nigerian army was just returning the ‘scorched earth’ favor back to the tribes that support Boko Haram. More power to ’em.

          • That conflict is in large part tribally-based. Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t composed of real countries. Nigeria’s last big war, the 1967-70 Biafran War was the result of the Igbos wanting independence from Lagos. The Igbos lost as a result of Lagos receiving aid from the Warsaw Pact, and the Hausas basically committed genocide against them.

            Multiethnic countries are dangerously unstable, especially when the median IQ is about 70.

  • RacialRay

    And we should care about Nigeria’s internecine squabbles…why?

    • propagandaoftruth

      Because our prezzy be black!

      • RacialRay

        Ah! Forgive me. That salient fact keeps slipping my mind, somehow.

      • Zimriel

        Not that sort of black though. Prezzy’s a half-zanji from the other side of the continent.

    • Zimriel

      Because Nigeria’s not a useless podunk like The Central African Waste Of Space. Too many natural resources that we need, plus a strategic location, plus they do have an educated minority. Which minority unfortunately isn’t running the place . . .

      • Maurice Miner

        Hello my friend Zimriel,

        Hope this day finds you well?, I am Ony Obo a merchant in Nigeria, I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer, It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

        I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous,I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.

        Now that God is about to call me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my souL. I have decided to give also to charity organizations, and I want this to continue but now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.

        I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them. I will want you to help me collect my last deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations which I deposited in security/finance house abroad, which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of (Twelve Million Eight Hundred Thousand U.S dollars) I have set aside 25% for you, then 5% for any expenses incured.

        If you are interested, please send your prompt reply to my private email address below which you will have to reply to if you will be kind enough to assist;
        Email: [email protected]

        God bless you

        Ony Obo

        • I always used to write absolutely infuriating replies to 419 scammers. One of my friends once tried to lure some of them to a quiet, out-of-the-way part of the US. I won’t say who he is, and have no idea whether he was successful. I miss those days. One of the unfortunate aspects of going crazy is that when one recovers, one tends to miss all the fun one used to have.

          • Bill Moore

            Hello Michael Christopher Scott,

            I once got an email (actually several of them) from one of the Nigerian scammers.

            I pretended to take him seriously, and we started an email conversation.

            Eventually, I told him that I would meet him at an airport in Nigeria, and had him believing that. When he emailed me telling me that he could not find me at the airport, I explained that there was some confusion, and I was at a different airport, waiting for him, and he never showed up.

            The humor continued for months as I had him running from airport to airport (and hotel to hotel) trying to meet me with my suitcase full of money. He finally gave up, complaining that he had just driven over two hundred miles to meet me and I wasn’t there.

            It was a lot of fun,
            Bill Moore

          • They had fake banks, complete with websites. For a while, I joined a group that was committing DDS attacks on those sites and crashing them, with five computers here alone. I let them run while I was asleep. That was in 2006, so any US statutes of limitations have expired.

          • Bill Moore

            Hello Michael Christopher Scott,

            Your comment, “I let them run while I was asleep”, reminded of something I did to a place that kept calling me trying to sell something to me.

            I have an auto-dialer on my computer, but I don’t have a microphone on the computer. Its for making phone calls over the internet, but I don’t use it.

            I put the phone number of the nuisance caller into the auto-dialer, got out a beer, and set it to re-dial ten times (the maximum number it allowed). Then I sat back and laughed hysterically while one person after another answered the call and kept saying “Hello, ….”.

            After repeating the ten calls for a while, I went to bed. In the morning, I heard a strange sound. I was the auto-caller. It kept calling all night. I got a cup of coffee and let it run for another hour or so, then shut it down.

            Just for fun,
            Bill Moore

          • Bill Moore

            Hello Micheal Christopher Scott,

            In one case, when the African emailed me to say he was at the airport to meet me so I could give him he money, I replied that I waited for him, and he didn’t show up. Then we discussed the time difference, which I told him that I was sorry that I had gotten the local time wrong.

            I continued by telling him that I rented a room at a hotel (its easy to find a hotel near the airport using Google), and I would meet him in the lobby of the hotel.

            He emailed me when he reached the hotel, and I told him I was in my room, and gave him a room number.

            He emailed me again when he was outside the door of the room, and I didn’t answer him.

            A couple of days later, we started all over again. I apologized for giving him the wrong room number, and promised never to do that again.

            It was hilarious,
            Bill Moore

          • Albert

            I actually got a scam from there in my junk-mail just a week or two ago. Told me i had won some lotto on some continent i had never set foot in. I wish i had saved a copy of it. Whoever wrote it had a feeble grasp of English at best. It was very comical.

      • Charles Martel

        Another reason to ban immigration from Nigeria. Let the educated Nigerians stay there to try and build a decent country.

    • Mary

      Situations to create refugees to be dumped on the West.

      • If we could shut down the international “refugee” racket, I would be delighted if we could aid whichever side is losing.

  • Easyrhino

    The bigger question is why are US tax-dollars even being spent on training these clowns?

  • Zimriel

    “But American officials are wary of the Nigerian military as well, citing corruption and sweeping human rights abuses by its soldiers.”

    It’s not the cruelty. The cruelty’s a fine thing and the Nigerians should be doing more of it. If someone’s in Boko Haram and he’s caught, I’d go full Vlad on his posterior (literally). The way to fight terror is to be even scarier.

    It’s the corruption and incompetence that is wrecking this effort. They’re not even impaling the right people.

  • MartelsGhost

    It’s like watching a fight between two drunks. Let them tire themselves out and injure each other. Then when their both lying on the ground, casually walk over and shoot them both……………………..

    • cyrusthevirus

      Unfortunately in the meantime refugees will flood north to Europe–oh deep joy!!!

    • Take their wallets and leave them alive. When they sober up, each will accuse the other of stealing from him, and the fight will begin again.

      • MartelsGhost

        ROFL!

        Brilliant as always…………..