THE United States on Wednesday alerted Nigeria that the Al-Qaeda insurgent group has started penetrating the north-western part of the country. Commander of the US special operations command, Africa, Dagvin Anderson, during a digital media briefing held on Tuesday, said Al-Qaeda is also expanding to other parts of West Africa.
Anderson, in the transcript of the digital press briefing, noted that the United States would continue to partner with Nigeria in sharing intelligence. He said: “We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing.
“And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno State and into an emerging area of north-west Nigeria that we’re seeing Al-Qaeda 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 ISISWest Africa is doing and how ISIS and Al-Qaeda are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.”
Anderson regretted that despite successes recorded in previous years, there has been a setback, adding that: “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.” He added that: “The other part of this is we can’t underestimate the threat these violent extremist organisations pose.”
Anderson said for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead. “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,” he said.