The United States says it is ready to help the multinational task force currently fighting Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria, but will not unilaterally send troops to the region.
John Kirby, a rear admiral and the Pentagon Press Secretary, told the Wall Street Journal at the weekend that although the US was yet to receive an official request for troops from Nigeria, it is already discussing its participation in the multinational task force with African nations to assist the country.
The force currently has troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Kirby said the task force will be designed to help build up Nigeria’s own counter terrorism capabilities, but added: “These discussions are really just now starting. I can tell you that there are no plans as I speak here unilaterally to send or to add U.S. troops into Nigeria.”
The US has often been accused by Nigeria of failing to support the war against the terrorists. President Goodluck Jonathan alluded to the allegation in the interview with Wall Street Journal, alleging that Boko Haram is receiving funding from the jihadist Islamic State, which is based in Iraq and Syria.
“Are they (America) not fighting ISIS? Why can’t they come to Nigeria? They are our friends. If Nigeria has a problem, then I expect the US to come and assist us,” he said.
Some US legislators have said they want Special Forces troops shipped to Nigeria to help combat Boko Haram, the newspaper also reported.
The US currently conducts surveillance flights to monitor Boko Haram from its drone base in Chad, but there is no evidence that it has been helping Nigeria with intelligence.