Premium Times (Abuja)

3 May 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - U.S. Supports Nigeria's Anti-Terrorism Efforts With N3.2 Billion

The United States government has said that it supported Nigeria's fight against terrorism with over $20 million in 2012.

Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, disclosed this during Thursday's daily press briefing in Washington D.C.

"As of last year, for Fiscal Year 2012, we provided over $20 million in security assistance to Nigeria," said Ms. Harf, while responding to questions from reporters.

"Part of what that does is help professionalize their military, investigate terrorist attacks, and enhance their forensic capabilities. And we've worked with law enforcement there as well to help build their capacity as well," she added.

Despite budgeting trillions of Naira yearly for security, the Nigerian government has continued to struggle with combating terrorism in the country.

Over the past few weeks, the Boko Haram insurgents have continued to unleash series of gruesome attacks and leaving in their wake hundreds of dead civilians.

On Friday, the U.S. embassy issued a warning to its citizens in Nigeria about a possible terror attack on Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. The embassy also asked its citizens to avoid Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States in North East Nigeria.

Two weeks ago, at least, 276 girls were abducted from their school hostel at the Government Girls Secondary, Chibok, by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

Of the number, about 43 had escaped from the captors unharmed while the remaining girls, most of them between the ages of 16 and 18, are reportedly being married off to the members of the Islamist sect.

Several protests have been held across the country by Nigerians to express outrage and disappointment at government's seeming inaction and helplessness against the terrorists' onslaught.

Ms. Harf told the journalists that words could not express how terrible the situation is in Nigeria.

"We know Boko Haram is active in the area. We've worked very closely with the Nigerian government to build capacity to fight this threat," she said.

"We have been engaged with the Nigerian Government in discussions on what we might do to help support their efforts to find and free these young women. We'll continue to have those conversations and help in any way we can," she added.

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