The U.S. says Nigeria must take the lead in the war against terrorists. The United States has warned the Nigerian government about the possible entrance of the Arab jihadist group, Al-Qaeda, in the northwestern region.
While speaking during a digital press briefing the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa, Major General Dagvin Anderson, warned that the terrorist group is making in-roads into Nigeria and other African countries.
He said the sharing of intelligence with the Nigerian government has been vital to providing an understanding of terrorist activities in the country.
The Nigerian Armed Forces have battled an insurgency from the local Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in the northeast region since 2009. The group further broke into factions over the years, including one backed by Islamic State known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) since 2016.
“We can’t underestimate the threat these violent extremist organizations pose.
“We, as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.
“I think after 20 years we have seen they are very resilient organizations that, although small, they’re able to leverage social media and other forms of media to have an outsized voice and that they continue to recruit and they continue to find opportunities,” he said.
Anderson also noted that Nigeria will have to take the lead on defeating the extremist groups within its borders so that international partners know where to help.
“No nation can come in and fix that problem for Nigeria. We can assist with that – and it’s the United States can assist, the United Kingdom, other countries can come in, many countries can come and assist with that partnership – but ultimately it takes leadership from Nigeria in order for us to focus our efforts.”
He also warned that governments must realize that defeating terrorist organizations takes a group effort from the entire international community, and no one country can do it alone.
He said there must be a deliberately coordinated partnership to dismantle the terrorist organizations while also examining the social effects, economic development, health issues that they target.