World View: Boko Haram Attacks Chinese Camp as Summit Takes Place in Paris

This morning's key headlines from

  • Boko Haram attacks Chinese camp as summit takes place in Paris
  • Terrorist car bomb kills 5 in northeast Nigeria
  • China imposes economic sanctions on Vietnam

Boko Haram attacks Chinese camp as summit takes place in Paris

An armed militia assumed to be Boko Haram attacked a Chinese company's camp on Friday night in northern Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria. One Chinese employee had two bullet wounds, and ten others were missing, assumed to have been abducted. The armed attackers forced their way into the camp, and after three hours of gunfire, left the camp with the abductees and all the camp's vehicles. 

There had been an elite Cameroonian battalion guarding the Chinese camp, but many soldiers had been transferred to Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, for a military parade marking National Day on May 20. 

The attack came as a summit meeting in Paris was convened on Saturday of west African leaders from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin, and Western leaders. On Saturday they agreed to wage "total war" on Boko Haram, saying that the Nigerian group, which abducted hundreds of schoolgirls whose whereabouts are still completely unknown, had gone from being a purely Nigerian threat to a threat to all of west Africa. According to Chad's President Idriss Deby: "There is determination to tackle this situation head on ... to launch a war, a total war on Boko Haram."

However, no clue was given about how this "total war" was going to be conducted. The Nigerian army is "not organized" in a way to deal with Boko Haram, according to Western officials. However, providing outside military help to Nigeria is a sensitive political issue, because Nigerians consider their country able to take care of itself. Nonetheless, France has 6,000 troops in Africa (in Mali and Central African Republic), the U.S. is apparently helping with air searches, and Britain and Israel are providing intelligence in an attempt to recover the girls. 

It's also suspected, but completely unconfirmed, that Nigeria's government is conducting secret talks with Boko Haram to pay a fairly substantial ransom to get the girls back. If that turns out to be true, then "total war" will have meant giving the terrorists what they want. Xinhua and Reuters

Terrorist car bomb kills 5 in northeast Nigeria

Late Sunday, a terrorist bomb in Nigeria's northern city of Kano killed 5 people. A car bomb was used on a busy street filled with popular bars and restaurants. Kano is mostly inhabited by Christians. The perpetrators are assumed to be Boko Haram. Reuters

China imposes economic sanctions on Vietnam

China is sending 5 additional warships to Vietnam to evacuate thousands more citizens and is beginning to call off some planned "bilateral exchanges" with Vietnam in response to last week's anti-China riots in Vietnam that killed two Chinese and injured hundreds. According to China's Foreign Ministry: "The violence has sabotaged the atmosphere and conditions for communication and cooperation between China and Vietnam."

In the past, China has threatened economic sanctions against Japan and the Philippines, with implied additional threats of military attacks unless these countries are obedient to all of China's demands. China has repeatedly said that they are going to annex regions belonging to Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, often for centuries. Last week, China indicated that it will not back off "one inch" from its demands. 

At times like this I always like to respond to the argument I always hear that such-and-such a country will not go to war with another country because it would be "bad for business." If this were true, there would never be any wars. In fact, the opposite is true. If two countries have good business relationships, then those relationships will be used as an additional weapon of war, leading to additional nationalistic fury on all sides, rather than preventing war. People's Daily (Beijing)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Boko Haram, Nigeria, François Hollande, Goodluck Jonathan, Cameroon, Chad, Idriss Deby, Kano, Vietnam 

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