MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Amid apparent security concerns, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled a trip Friday to the traumatized town from which Islamic extremists abducted more than 300 schoolgirls a month ago.
It would have been the first reported visit by the president to the scene of an attack in the northeastern region that has suffered for five years the increasingly deadly assaults by Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network. Jonathan, a Christian from the south, has been accused of insensitivity to the plight of the mainly Muslim northerners. Thousands have been killed over the years and more than 1,500 civilians have died in the insurgency this year alone.
Two officials in the presidency confirmed the cancellation saying there were apparent concerns about security after news of the planned trip was leaked to the media and published on front pages of newspapers Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not supposed to give information to reporters.
Jonathan had been expected to fly on one of his presidential jets from Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, to Maiduguri, the Borno state capital in the northeast, and then be transported by military helicopter to the town of Chibok, 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south.
The road from Maiduguri to Chibok passes by the Sambisa Forest to which the girls first were taken that is a known hideout of the insurgents and has been attacked many times. Soldiers say 12 troops were killed in an ambush on that road on Monday night. The Defense Ministry said four soldiers were killed in a firefight on the outskirts of Chibok that night.
Soldiers revolted and opened fire on the car of a commanding officer who came to pay respects to the bodies brought to a Maiduguri barracks on Tuesday, said the soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they want to keep their jobs. The Defense Ministry said the soldiers only fired into the air. The commander was unharmed.
There have been other signs that some Nigerian troops are near mutiny, complaining that they are outnumbered and outgunned by the insurgents, are not properly paid and have to scavenge for food in the bush.
The weakness of the Nigerian military was described Thursday by Alice Friend, the U.S. Department for Defense director for African affairs at a hearing about the kidnapped girls and the threat posed by Boko Haram.
“And so we’re now looking at a military force that’s, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even engage” the enemy, she told the U.S. Senate subcommittee on African Affairs in Washington.
She also said “much of the funding” for Nigeria’s military is “skimmed off the top” by corrupt officers in a country where corruption is endemic.
Soldiers in Nigeria have told The Associated Press that some in their ranks actually fight alongside Boko Haram, and Jonathan last year said he suspected the Boko Haram members and sympathizers had infiltrated every level of his government and military, including the Cabinet.
In Chibok, community leader Pogu Bitrus had said earlier Friday that that though residents had been angry at Jonathan’s slow response to the girls’ plight, they did not hold it against the president and considered his visit “better late than never.”
The presidency said Jonathan is traveling later Friday to Paris for a French-organized summit including leaders of Nigeria’s four neighbors to discuss how to address the regional threat posed by Boko Haram.
Boko Haram insurgents on April 15 abducted more than 300 students from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School. Police say 53 managed to escape and 276 remain in captivity.
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(Photo Source: AP)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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