U.S. Welcomes “Ceasefire Agreement’’ Between FG, Boko Haram

Abu Shekau-jonathan_NaijapalsThe U.S. said it will welcome “any agreement’’ between Nigeria and extremist organisations to ensure peace and security of all Nigerians.

The Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, gave the indication in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr. Yamamoto, who completed a two-day official visit to Abuja, strongly condemned the recent killings of school children in Yobe and Borno by extremist groups in Nigeria.

On the reported “ceasefire agreement’’ between Federal government and members of the Boko Haram, the U.S. official said: “if there are any agreements or movements, we welcome it.

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“What we want for the people of Nigeria is to have peace, stability and freedom from the threat of violence from extremist groups that seek to undermine the stability of the people of Nigeria,’’ he said.

Mr. Yamamoto reiterated the commitment of the U.S. to work with the government of Nigeria to ensure the protection of civilians during conflict. He said the U.S. was willing to work with community leaders and the government to assist victims of extremist attacks including internally displaced persons and refugees.

Earlier in a statement on the killings in Yobe and Borno, the official said the U.S. would “stand with Nigeria in opposing those who seek to harm innocent people’’.

“The U.S. extends its deepest sympathies to the people of Nigeria, especially relatives and friends of those who have lost their lives during the recent attacks.

“No single issue defines our relationship and there is no single issue that separates our strong bond of partnership.

“We stand together in advancing our common agenda that will benefit Nigeria, its people, its future and all of Africa,’’ he said.

Providing details on his lowly-publicised visit to Nigeria, the top U.S. envoy to Africa said he met with Nigeria’s security officials to discuss ongoing security challenges in the country.

“We want to share ‘ideas experiences’ and work together to meet those challenges,” he said.

Mr. Yamamoto noted that the U.S. was concerned about the fragile nature of democracies of countries in the Sahel region and the impact of the Libyan conflict on the stability of African countries.

He said the U.S. was working in partnership with countries in the region to increase their “capacity and capability” to effectively secure their borders.

(NAN)

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