- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Nigeria’s new defense minister says the country’s northeastern Islamic uprising is “daunting but surmountable” and promises to make Nigeria safe.

Retired Gen. Aliyu Gusau takes up his new post as the much-criticized military reports success in repelling attacks by Islamic extremists it says are on the run. More than 400 people have been killed in attacks since February.

A Defense Ministry statement Friday says heightened and aggressive patrols continue while useful information is being gleaned from captured suspects including a “human butcher” who boasts of using only daggers and cutlasses.

Gusau, from the predominantly Muslim north, took up the reins Friday saying “The challenges are evidently daunting but surmountable.” He promised there is a collective resolve to give Nigerians confidence “that the country is indeed a safe place for everyone.”

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