Friday, May 16, 2014

One big obstacle to #BringBackOurGirls? Nigeria’s government

“Brutal tactics.” “Record of atrocities.” “Gross violations of human rights.” Top U.S. government officials spoke those words Thursday at a Senate hearing about Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls. But they said them about Nigeria’s government and military, not the Islamist terrorist group that burst into international consciousness with its actions last month. U.S. mistrust of the Nigerian government runs so deep that the State Department requires Nigerian decision-makers to promise not to use intelligence obtained from American intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) flights to violate human rights. “We have sought assurances from them — that Ambassador (James) Entwistle delivered a couple of days ago — that they will use any information that we pass to them from this ISR support in a manner consistent with international humanitarian and human rights law,” Alice Friend, the Defense Department’s principal director for African affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.