The newly inducted top commander for the United States’ military command for operations in Africa, known as AFRICOM, is calling for a “full counterinsurgency plan” to combat radical Islamic insurgency, Boko Haram, which killed as many as 1,800 Christians and destroyed as few as 200 churches last year alone.
01/27/2015 Nigeria (Defense One) – The top commander of U.S. troops in Africa said he would like the U.S. military to do more to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram, but that it’s up to Nigerian and U.S. policy officials to decide how much they’re willing to change the trajectory of that group’s violent stronghold on the region.
U.S. Africa Command’s Gen. David Rodriguez, who previously served as the No. 2-ranking commander of the Afghanistan war, said he believes to turn the tide against Boko Haram would require a full-scale counterinsurgency plan across four countries.
The group now controls a vast territory of northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Two weeks ago, Boko Haram fighters killed roughly 2,000 people in one attack in the region. The episode drew delayed Western media attention and relatively muted responses from Western leaders. Critics at the time complained that Washington and allied leaders paid disproportionate attention to the terrorist attack in Paris against the satirical periodical Charlie Hebdo, which occurred the same week.
Rodriguez said he felt the international community was amply aware of Nigeria’s crisis and was taking steps to fight the terrorist threat. “But I totally agree that it has to be much more effective all the way around to change what’s going on there, the negative impact on the people, the number of people displaced is just staggering,” he said, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
“I think it’s going to take a huge international and multinational effort there to change the trajectory of that … I think the Nigerian leadership and Nigerian militaries are really going to have to really improve their capacities to be able to handle that. … I hope that they let us help them more and more,” Rodriguez said.