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ICC Note:
During the U.S. Secretary of State’s official trip to Africa, John Kerry took time to criticize Nigeria for its insecurity and human rights abuses. This criticism comes at a time where Nigeria is fighting with the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram for control of the country’s northern States. Boko Haram is estimated that have killed over 4,000 people since it began its insurgency in 2009, many of the group’s victims have been targeted because of their Christian identity.   
5/30/2013 Nigeria (All Africa) – During Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s first official trip to sub-Saharan Africa last week, he had the opportunity to publicly bolster a key US ally. Instead, he singled out Nigeria for criticism at the very time the country is engaged in a pitched battle to defend itself against radical Islamic terrorists who have pledged to overthrow the government and replace it with an Islamic state.
 
It was a puzzling choice by the U.S., coming at the very moment that Nigeria is reporting major progress in combating the group Boko Haram. Nigeria has deployed 2,000 soldiers to its northern regions to destroy well-equipped terrorist training camps utilized by these Islamists.

 
Nigeria is presently at war and on the other side are terrorists who may be receiving help from al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked fighters. Nigeria’s goal is to retain its grip on three northern states, preventing Boko Haram from solidifying its grip on the region and fundamentally destabilizing Nigeria.
 
The very name Boko Haram tells us what we need to know about the group – it translates to “Western education is forbidden.” The group began launching its terrorist strikes in Nigeria in 2009 and has continued since then. The Associated Press estimates that Boko Haram has killed more than 1,600 people since 2009, and thousands more Nigerians have been wounded.
 
The group has specifically targeted the country’s Christians, including suicide bombings inside churches.

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