US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to Meet Buhari in Abuja Next Week

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As the search for the 110 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, intensifies, the United States Government yesterday announced that its Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, would visit Nigeria and some other African countries next week over terrorism challenges in the continent.

Speaking on Tillerson’s visit, the spokesperson for the State Department, Heather Nauert, said in a statement: “On his first official trip to Africa, Secretary Rex Tillerson will travel to N’Djamena, Chad; Djibouti, Djibouti; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Abuja, Nigeria, March 6-13, 2018.

“Secretary Tillerson will meet with leadership in each country, as well as the leadership of the African Union Commission based in Addis Ababa, to further our partnerships with the governments and people of Africa.

“In particular, he plans to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment.”

The United States Government also said it believes the attack on Dapchi might have been carried out by ISIS West Africa, and not Boko Haram as widely believed.

The US State Department’s Counterterrorism Coordinator, Ambassador Nathan Sales, disclosed this during a press briefing held in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Sales is the one mobilising law enforcement efforts to defeat ISIS.

“Let me just say the United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent kidnappings. We understand there are reports that this operation may have been carried out by ISIS West Africa. As you know, previous kidnappings in the region have been carried out by Boko Haram, and so it looks like this is a technique that ISIS West Africa is copying,” he said.

Sales said the US would continue to support Nigeria by training the Nigerian military and police.

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