Christian Science Monitor quotes Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton and Nonresident Senior Fellow Rudolph Atallah on the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist organization Boko Haram:

“Special Ops would give us a deeper understanding for what’s going on,” says retired Lt. Col. Rudy Atallah, former Africa Counterterrorism director at the Pentagon. Such forces, he adds, would also help to “figure out how to mitigate the threat.” 

At the same time, that prospect is “politically dicey” in Nigeria. “We’ve always looked to the Nigerians for assistance,” which has included peacekeeping operations through the Africa Union, notes Mr. Atallah, now a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “Now all of a sudden they have an insurgency that has been growing and taking root in the north, and it’s an embarrassment for them.”

There is also a concern that the Nigerian military does not prioritize human rights when they are pursuing targets, and that innocent civilians suffer as a result. “Nigeria has been extremely heavy-handed,” Atallah adds. “And that has led to Boko Haram getting some sympathetic support” from civilians who fear the government almost as much as the rebel group.


The Nigerian government “has been promising for months that it would adopt a softer approach,” says Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. These promises have yet to come to fruition, and the concern is that the US military equipment that Nigeria is requesting could be used “to carry out their hard-fisted approach,” she notes. “The United States doesn’t want to put an American face on the brutality of the Nigerian military.” 

Read the full article here.

Related Experts: Bronwyn Bruton and Rudolph Atallah