The May 8 editorial “Tactics under fire,” about the recent confrontation between Boko Haram militants and Nigerian government forces in the town of Baga, calls for a thorough investigation and accountability. Our government is taking resolute actions to ensure that both are accomplished swiftly and effectively.
Upon learning of the incident — in which Nigerian security forces and troops from Cameroon, Chad and Niger were called on to repel a Boko Haram assault in this border region — President Goodluck Jonathan immediately instituted a full investigation. He also welcomed plans by Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission to pursue its own independent inquiry.
The destruction and loss of life in Baga are tragic and regrettable, but judgment should be reserved until further details emerge and investigations are completed.
The Post correctly asserts that Boko Haram “is a serious threat.” Our government — in partnership with the United States and others — is responding with a range of initiatives that seek to strengthen communities and isolate extremists. This effort is taking place within the boundaries of Nigerian law and in accordance with the human rights principles enshrined in our constitution. Where any misconduct is established, in Baga or elsewhere, the federal government will not hesitate to bring those responsible to justice.
Adebowale Adefuye, Washington
The writer is the Nigerian ambassador to the United States.
“Tactics under fire” [editorial, May 8] raised excellent points on why the Obama administration should pay attention to human rights abuses committed in Nigeria. The same goes for Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Bahrain, Honduras and too many other examples of U.S. military aid recipients to count.
While it’s important for the United States to cut off assistance to specific individuals and units known to commit violations, continuing to provide lethal aid to their governments year after year — despite chronic abuses, virtual impunity and minimal efforts forward — is dangerous and ineffective. And as the United States simultaneously works to support good governance, the mixed messages don’t go unnoticed by impacted communities.
With partnerships in the name of counterterrorism growing in Africa and elsewhere, more long-term accountability and conditioning of U.S. military aid is needed. Members of Congress and others should demand meaningful evaluations of U.S. security assistance’s efficacy and impact in all countries, before it’s too late.
Cassidy Regan, Washington
The writer is the Kenya project associate for Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Peaceful Prevention of Deadly Conflict Program.