Boko Haram: US secretary of state Kerry meets Jonathan
… Stresses respect for human rights
United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, who last week expressed concern about allegations of gross human rights violations by Nigerian forces fighting the Boko Haram sect, raised the issue with President Goodluck Jonathan directly on Saturday, a U.S official said.
Kerry sat beside President Jonathan at an African Union dinner and discussed the matter privately much as he has raised it publicly, defending Nigeria’s right “to combat terrorism but (saying) government security forces have to do so smartly (and) respect human rights,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
Reuters reports that Nigerian troops last week used jets and helicopters to bombard targets in their biggest offensive since the Boko Haram group began a revolt almost four years ago to establish a breakaway Islamic state in the northeast of the country.
On May 17, Kerry took the unusual step of saying that he was “deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism.”