Violence continues in northeast Nigeria, with the Boko Haram sect continuing to attack Christians in the predominantly Muslim portion of the nation. But how big is the threat? According to President Goodluck Jonathan, bigger than anyone imagined.
President Jonathan claimed that membership in the group is dramatically larger than anyone thought, saying membership in Boko Haram is pervasive across the executive branch, the judiciary branch, parliament and all branches of the nation’s military.
Jonathan insisted that the threat was “even worse” than the late 1960’s civil war, because “we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from,” while now “the situation is so bad that even if one’s son is a member, one will not even know.”
The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, involved Nigeria’s military invading the secessionist Republic of Biafra in the nation’s southeast after oil was discovered in Biafra’s Niger River Delta. The war was particularly bloody and saw a internationally supported blockade of food into Biafra, leading to the deaths of well over a million people, mostly civilians.
The US has expressed growing interest in insinuating itself into the latest Nigerian conflict, saying that Boko Haram is “an emerging threat to US interests.” Nigeria is the fifth largest US supplier of oil.