Amidst rising civil unrest in Nigeria, Secretary of State John F. Kerry flew there this weekend to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and his challenger in the upcoming Nigerian presidential election to discuss the vote and discourage violence from each party’s supporters, and also to enhance cooperation in the fight against Islamist terrorism.
Mr. Kerry’s weekend visit came only hours after Boko Haram invaded the northeastern town of Maiduguri and killed 15 people on the eve of a political rally that was going to be held for Mr. Jonathan, who faces off Feb. 14 against challenger Muhhamdu Buhari.
Al-Jazeera quoted an anonymous security source that said the group “entered the town at 5 a.m. and set the hamlet ablaze.”
Yet amidst the continued violence, Mr. Jonathan says he is determined to work with the U.S. to defeat the Islamist terrorist group, which has links to Al Qaeda.
“I welcome Secretary Kerry’s visit to Nigeria and his commitment that the United States will strengthen and enhance its cooperation with our government to address the threat of Boko Haram,” the Nigerian president said in an exclusive statement to The Washington Times.
“Our government is fully committed to work with U.S. and the multinational force against Boko Haram and to preserve human rights and the rule of law, which are the bedrock of a democratic society,” he said.