US slams Boko Haram 'barbarism' after island attack

2015-04-29 14:31
Boko Haram (File: AFP)

Boko Haram (File: AFP)

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Washington - The United States condemned on Tuesday a brutal attack during which Boko Haram gunmen killed dozens of soldiers and massacred civilians on a Lake Chad island.

Washington regularly condemns Boko Haram offensives, has repeatedly warned it would increase its support to the Nigerian army and urges countries in the region to fight against the radical group.

Fighters travelling in motorised canoes stormed the island before sunrise on Saturday.

Niger said 46 of its soldiers and 28 civilians were killed in the assault, which came after 21 people were shot dead in northeast Nigeria's Yobe state on Friday, in an attack also blamed on Boko Haram.

"We condemn the violent actions of Boko Haram and its continued disregard for human life," state department acting deputy spokesperson Jeff Rathke said in a statement.

"Boko Haram has perpetrated countless unprovoked attacks on men, women and children in their homes, schools, places of worship and businesses.

"Their brutality and barbarism know no bounds."

Rathke said the United States was "committed to supporting the efforts" of the multinational MNJTF task force comprising troops from Chad, Niger and Nigeria to "degrade and destroy" Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly as "Western education is sin," is seeking to create a hardline Islamic state and has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group.

The group's six-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria has left at least 15 000 dead and some 1.5 million people homeless.

The Nigerian military has in recent months claimed a string of successes against Boko Haram after launching a joint offensive against the militants with the help of soldiers from Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  chad  |  us  |  nigeria

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