Kingsley Nwezeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The United States government wednesday condemned what it described as the “brazen killings of civilians” by terrorist groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North-east as well as armed bandits in the North-west and North-central parts Nigeria.
It said the federal government was not doing enough to halt the killings and must rise up to the occasion by protecting Nigerian lives and property and general security around the country.
A statement issued by the US Secretary of State, Mr. Michael Pompeo, and made available to journalists by the Department of State deplored the recent killing of civilians in Nigeria.
“We condemn the recent senseless and brazen killings of civilians in northern Nigeria. In recent weeks, suspected ISIS West Africa militants launched multiple attacks in Borno State, killing more than 120 civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. On June 9, unidentified armed bandits attacked a village in Katsina State, killing dozens”, it said.
The statement noted that “these horrific crimes follow the shooting of a pastor and his pregnant wife on June 1 and the killing of an imam, local village head, and several civilians on June 5 in the course of intercommunal violence in Taraba State.
“Tens of thousands of civilians have lost their lives in Nigeria in recent years to violent attacks by terrorist groups or criminal gangs, in inter-communal violence, or due to their religious beliefs.
“The United States calls on the Government of Nigeria to do more to strengthen ongoing efforts to address this violence, hold those responsible accountable, and protect civilians.”
The State Department spokesperson, Mr. Morgan Ortagus, also made available details of the telephone conversation between Pompeo and Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
Pompeo in the chat expressed condolences for the killings caused by ISIS West Africa terrorists.
The statement affirmed that the two discussed “Nigeria’s ongoing civilian protection and counter-terrorism efforts”.
Pompeo and Onyeama reviewed Nigeria’s progress in fighting COVID-19 and the $30million assistance to strengthen the country’s public health and humanitarian response.
Ortagus disclosed that the senior officials also discussed the African Development Bank (AfDB), and “the constructive role of multilateral initiatives in accelerating economic recovery and regional security”.
Pompeo and Onyeama agreed that “transparency and accountability will drive democratic and inclusive development”.