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UPDATE 2-Nigeria names new military chiefs amid spreading militant violence

GlobalJan 26, 2021 17:24
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© Reuters.

(Adds details of attacks on civilians)
ABUJA, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Nigerian President Muhammadu
Buhari has appointed a new military high command, a spokesman
said on Tuesday, after years of mounting criticism over
spreading violence by Islamist insurgents and armed gangs.
"President Buhari thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for
what he calls their 'overwhelming achievements in our efforts at
bringing enduring peace to our dear country'," the presidency
spokesman said. He told Reuters later that some of the chiefs
had resigned while others retired.
Leo Irabor was named to the powerful Chief of Defence Staff
post, which oversees the main military branches, the presidency
spokesman said, while I. Attahiru, A.Z. Gambo and I.O. Amao
would command the army, navy and air force respectively.
Hopes were high after initial successes pushing back
Islamist Boko Haram insurgents in 2015 and 2016, but with the
rise of Islamic State's West African branch, formerly part of
Boko Haram, the military ceded many of its gains.
Now, swathes of the northeast of Africa's most populous
country and biggest oil producer are out of government control,
with soldiers hunkered down in defensive positions and regularly
killed by insurgents while on patrol.
Armed gangs have surged through Nigeria's northwest since
Buhari was first elected in 2015, kidnappers patrol many of the
country's roads and conflict between farmers and herdsmen has
frequently spiked. In the Gulf of Guinea where Nigeria's
offshore oil wealth is concentrated, piracy is on the rise.
As disorder has worsened, the military has also attacked
civilians, drawing condemnation from many countries that have
since often refused to sell weapons and equipment to Nigeria -
supplies the government says are needed to neutralise insurgents
undermining public security.
Last October, police and soldiers killed at least 12 people
in Lagos taking part in protests against police brutality,
according to witnesses and rights group Amnesty International.


UPDATE 2-Nigeria names new military chiefs amid spreading militant violence
 

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