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“ISIS, Al-Qaeda Penetrating North West, Seeking To Expand Into South” – US Warns Nigeria

United States says ISIS and Al-Qaeda have started penetrating into some parts of Nigeria.

United States has warned Nigeria that ISIS and al-Qaeda are penetrating Northwest and looking to expand further into part of the country.

"ISIS, Al-Qaeda Penetrating North West, Seeking To Expand Into South" - US Warns Nigeria 1

The warning was issued on Wednesday during a media briefing by Dagvin Anderson, the Commander of the US special operations command in Africa.

Anderson said Al-Qaeda and ISIS are looking to make an inroad into Southern Nigeria, adding that the terrorist group are also penetrating the north-western part of the country.

He said the US will continue to partner with Nigeria in sharing intelligence and fighting against the insurgency.

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“We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing,” he said.

“And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno state and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaida starting to make some inroads in.

“So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the government of Nigeria to provide them an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaida are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.”

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Anderson regretted that despite successes recorded in previous years, there have been setback, adding:

“We as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.”

“I think there’s two factors in that. One, it goes to that each government has to focus on this and provide that focus for international partners to engage with,” the US general said.

“The other part of this is we can’t underestimate the threat these violent extremist organisations pose. We, as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.

“I think after 20 years we have seen they are very resilient organisations that, although small, they’re able to leverage social media and other forms of media to have an outsized voice and that they continue to recruit and they continue to find opportunities.”

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Anderson said for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead.

“When it comes to Nigeria in general, Nigeria, obviously, is a critical nation to West Africa. It is a critical nation and we realize that Nigeria is a lynchpin,” he said.

”For that to have an effect against the VEOs and to have an effect against these stressors, it really takes the Government of Nigeria to lead that effort and to build that energy to coalesce around.

“So no nation can come in and fix that problem for Nigeria. We can assist with that – and it’s the United States can assist, the United Kingdom, other countries can come in, many countries can come and assist with that partnership – but ultimately it takes leadership from Nigeria in order for us to focus our efforts.”

This is coming barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari said he is convinced that the security chiefs in Nigeria are ‘doing their best’ to address the insecurity in the country.

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