(AFP) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday vowed total war against terrorism as the country’s security forces stepped up efforts to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists 45 days ago.
Nigeria returned to democracy on May 29, 1999 after nearly 16 years of military rule but the country has recently been blighted by a five-year Islamist insurgency in north and central Nigeria that has claimed thousands of lives.
The mass abduction of teenage girls on April 14 from a secondary school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state has sparked global outrage and drawn unprecedented attention to Boko Haram’s extremist uprising.
The incident has also drawn offers of military aid and intelligence from several foreign powers including the US, Britain, France and China.
Jonathan linked the Boko Haram group with foreign organisations like Al Qaeda.
Nigeria is increasingly keen to blame outside forces for the Boko Haram violence, but experts largely reject this claim and instead see the violence as largely domestically inspired.
There are also suggestions that Nigeria lacks the capacity to end the insurgency as acute poverty, illiteracy, underdevelopment, unemployment and official corruption mainly in the north have continued to fuel the violence.
Jonathan however appealed to the Islamists to renounce violence and embrace peace.