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US vows support for Nigeria in battling Boko Haram

A screengrab of the Boko Haram extremist group leader Abubakar Shekau in 2014.
A screengrab of the Boko Haram extremist group leader Abubakar Shekau in 2014. AFP

The United States vowed on Sunday to support Nigeria after a series of deadly terror attacks blamed on Boko Haram, calling for those responsible to face justice.

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The Islamists have launched a series of attacks on mosques, villages and markets in Borno state in the past few days, claiming more than 200 lives.

On Sunday a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a church in the restive northeastern city of Potiskum, killing five worshippers.

“The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks in northeastern Nigeria inflicted by Boko Haram,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

“We will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks, to justice,” he added in offering condolences to the families of the victims.

Boko Haram appear keen to prove they are not a spent force despite a four-nation military offensive running them out of several towns and villages they had controlled.

“As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror,” Kirby said.

He noted that Washington is providing counterterrorism aid to help Nigerian authorities fight the terror group.

And Kirby commended the “gains” of Nigeria’s military, as well as forces from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, against Boko Haram.

A coalition of the four countries all of which border Lake Chad, a focal point of Boko Haram unrest launched military operations against the jihadists early this year to try claw back some of the territory they had seized.

“The United States stands with the Nigerian people in their struggle against violent extremism,” Kirby said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Nigerian government and our international partners to combat Boko Haram and assist its many victims.”

(AFP)

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