Nigeria top general – swift end to Boko Haram

Alex Badeh

CDS, Alex Badeh

Nigeria’s top military officer on Monday called for a swift end to the Islamist insurgency gripping the country’s north, as he was sworn in as the new Chief of Defence staff.

“The security situation in the northeast must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014,” Air Marshall Alex Badeh said after his investiture ceremony in the capital, Abuja.

Badeh, whose home state Adamawa is one of three in Nigeria’s northeast to have been under emergency rule since last May, set the April deadline to avoid what he said were “constitutional problems”.

“We don’t want to go back to the [upper chamber of parliament] Senate to go and start begging and lobbying [for an extension to emergency rule],” he added.

“If we do our work cohesively, I can tell you, we will finish that thing [the counter-insurgency] in no time.”

Boko Haram have been fighting a drawn-out insurgency since 2009 in the mainly Muslim north, attacking schools teaching a “Western” curriculum and churches and claiming thousands of lives.

The group, which is considered an international terrorist organisation by the United States, wants to create an Islamic state in the north.

Badeh replaced Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, who headed the military from 2012 and who was sacked with the three other heads of the country’s armed forces last Thursday.

Two days earlier, suspected Boko Haram insurgents detonated a car bomb in a crowded market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, killing at least 19 and wounding scores more.

In related development, Boko Haram is accused of being responsible for the death of over 57 people during Church service last Sunday in Adamawa.

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