A day after the United States announced that it will collaborate with the Nigerian army to combat the threat of the Boko Haram, the Islamist group says it has claimed a high profile victory in the Tuesday assassination of former deputy inspector general, Abubakar Saleh Ningi in Kano.
“Yesterday God gave us victory and we succeeded in killing a former DIG in Kano city,” proclaimed the sect which vowed to carry out more of such killings of senior government officials.
“By God’s grace very soon top government officials will have no peace as we will intensify attacks on them wherever they are,” the sect relayed in an email message to media houses late Wednesday.
Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead Abubakar Saleh Ningi, his driver and a bodyguard in Kano on Tuesday, where Boko Haram killed at lease 185 people in a bloody January operation alone.
Ningi’s killing came against the background of the American government’s status review of whether to put the group on a blacklist of terrorist organizations.
“This is an issue of ongoing internal deliberations within the United States government,” Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson said after two days of high-level talks with Nigerian officials in the US capital.
The administration was “trying to make a decision which is both appropriate, rational and useful” while “taking into account the significance of any decision that we might make on Nigeria and the Nigerian government.”
The talks — held as part of the US-Nigeria Binational Commission — focused on governance, security cooperation, energy and investment and food security.
Opening the talks on Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns said the US was “ready to explore a potential partnership with the Nigerian army to build its civil affairs capacity.”
“We are all disturbed by the repeated scenes of violence in various parts of Nigeria which threaten to undercut the gains Nigeria has made,” he said.
“Violent extremist militants like those associated with Boko Haram offer no practical program to improve the lives on Nigerians. They depend on resentment and neglect.”
Without providing concrete details of what such a partnership with the Nigerian military could look like, Carson said the US experience in other areas of conflict could help in combating the situation in Nigeria.
“We have some degree of knowledge of experience or expertise as a result of the concerns that we have faced over the past decade in both Iraq and Afghanistan dealing with symmetrical warfare, dealing with IEDs, dealing with assassination, dealing with urban conflict and dealing with groups that have broken down into small cells,” he said.
“And we are prepared to share with the government some of the lessons that we have learned in our own experience.”
Nigerian permanent secretary Martin Uhomoibhi told the gathering that “the implications of Boko Haram are not tied down to just Nigeria, but to terrorism globally and what terrorism means to democratic nations.
“So the United States will work with Nigeria to address this security challenge because once it is done for Nigeria, it will also have very positive implications for the entire west African region.”
Maiduguri is at the center of Boko Haram’s insurgency, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives since mid-2009.