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

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’scamp on Friday night in northern Cameroon, near the border withNigeria. One Chinese employee had two bullet wounds, and ten otherswere missing, assumed to have been abducted. The armed attackersforced their way into the camp, and after three hours ofgunfire, left the camp with the abductees and all the camp’svehicles. 

There had been an elite Cameroonian battalion guarding the Chinesecamp, but many soldiers had been transferred to Yaounde, Cameroon’scapital, for a military parade marking National Day on May 20. 

The attack came as a summit meeting in Paris was convened on Saturdayof west African leaders from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin, andWestern leaders. On Saturday they agreed to wage “total war” on BokoHaram, saying that the Nigerian group, which abducted hundreds ofschoolgirls whose whereabouts are still completely unknown, had gonefrom 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 headon … to launch a war, a total war on Boko Haram.”

However, no clue was given about how this “total war” was going to beconducted. The Nigerian army is “not organized” in a way to deal withBoko Haram, according to Western officials. However, providingoutside military help to Nigeria is a sensitive political issue, becauseNigerians consider their country able to take care of itself.Nonetheless, France has 6,000 troops in Africa (in Mali and CentralAfrican Republic), the U.S. is apparently helping with air searches,and Britain and Israel are providing intelligence in an attempt torecover the girls. 

It’s also suspected, but completely unconfirmed, that Nigeria’sgovernment is conducting secret talks with Boko Haram topay a fairly substantial ransom to get the girls back. If that turnsout to be true, then “total war” will have meant giving the terroristswhat they want. Xinhua and Reuters

Terrorist car bomb kills 5 in northeast Nigeria

Late Sunday, a terrorist bomb in Nigeria’s northern city of Kanokilled 5 people. A car bomb was used on a busy street filled withpopular 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 evacuatethousands more citizens and is beginning to call off some plannedanti-China riots in Vietnam that killed two Chinese and injuredhundreds. According to China’s Foreign Ministry: “The violence has sabotaged the atmosphere andconditions for communication and cooperation between China andVietnam.”

In the past, China has threatened economic sanctions against Japan andthe Philippines, with implied additional threats of military attacks unless these countries are obedient to all of China’s demands. Chinahas repeatedly said that they are going to annex regions belonging toJapan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, oftenfor centuries. Last week, China indicated that it will not back off

At times like this I always like to respond to the argument I always hearthat such-and-such a country will not go to war with another countrybecause it would be “bad for business.” If this were true, therewould never be any wars. In fact, the opposite is true. If twocountries have good business relationships, then those relationshipswill be used as an additional weapon of war, leading to additionalnationalistic 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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