Nigeria struggling with Boko Haram crisis

2015-02-24 15:42
Boko Haram (File: AFP)

Boko Haram (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Low morale, lack of resources and information leaks are hampering the Nigerian military in tackling the terror group Boko Haram, an international law expert said on Tuesday.

"It's an enforcement problem that has its roots in the armed forces itself," University of Johannesburg Professor Hennie Strydom told reporters ahead of a conference on Boko Haram and international law.

Boko Haram made headlines last year when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in April. The girls have never been found, despite claims by the government that they would be returned.

Strydom pointed out that in light of the country's inability to deal with the crisis, the African Union had waited too long to intervene in the conflict.

Major disaster

"The right to intervene is given by law to the African Union, but it has never been used," Strydom said.

As the regional organisation, the AU had neglected its obligation to attend to the issue.

"The regional organisation waits too long and at the time when they suddenly wake up it's become a major disaster.

"Thirteen thousand lives have been lost and one million people have been displaced."

Because Nigeria was a signatory to the Rome Statute, there could be possible implications for the country in the International Criminal Court for the failure to deal with Boko Haram and for allowing gross human rights violations to continue.

Ethnic affiliations

Dr John-Mark Iyi, a Nigerian researcher and post-doctoral fellow at UJ, said Boko Haram appealed to people's ethnic affiliations to recruit followers.

This made it easy for them to recruit not only in northern Nigeria, but also in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

Strydom said there was no visibility or information that Boko Haram had infiltrated South Africa at this stage.

The two-day conference starts on Wednesday with host speakers and military officials from Nigeria and other African countries, and France and Poland.

It would cover issues surrounding where Boko Haram received its weapons and financial assistance, the United Nations response to the crisis, the internal capacity of Nigeria to deal with the problem, and the role of neighbouring states.

Read more on:    au  |  boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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