IBRAHIM ABDULAZIZ, Associated Press
JALINGO, Nigeria (AP) — Youths angry at the Nigerian government’s failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones Thursday at President Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering convoy in the eastern town of Jalingo, breaking windshields and windows on several vehicles. An Associated Press reporter was unable to see if anyone was hurt.
Police used tear gas and whips to disperse the mob.
From Jalingo, Jonathan flew to Yola, capital of Adamawa state, where officials had declared the route of his motorcade a no-go area. The presidential cavalcade already had been stoned in northern Katsina city and northeast Bauchi last week. Youths in Bauchi flung shoes and plastic bottles at Jonathan’s podium at a rally.
In Jalingo, soldiers guarded billboards and posters of Jonathan, who is running for re-election on Feb. 14. Protesters shouted that the troops should instead be fighting the Boko Haram insurgents blamed for the deaths of some 10,000 people in the past year.
“Why are they using soldiers and other security operatives? They should be deployed to Sambisa and fight with Boko Haram, not with innocent civilians,” one youth yelled as he tore down a poster of a smiling Jonathan.
Sambisa Forest is where the insurgents have camps and where they are believed to be holding some of the 276 schoolgirls abducted from a boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in April — a mass kidnapping that brought international outrage.
Dozens of the girls escaped on their own but 219 remain missing, a reminder of the failures of Nigeria’s government and military.
At a rally in Yola, Jonathan promised his government will do more to help some of the million-plus people driven from their homes in the 5-year-old insurgency.
“We are totally committed to the liberation of Adamawa state,” Jonathan pledged. But Adamawa state legislator Adamu Kamale complained Wednesday that seven villages and Michika town have been under attack by Boko Haram since Friday and that he has appealed in vain for soldiers to come and fight the extremists.
It is unclear if displaced people will be able to vote. Hundreds of thousands have fled across borders. And it is not known how many remain trapped in more than 100 northeastern village and towns held by the insurgents.
Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram group has been attacking Cameroonian villages and troops, broadening the conflict and raising fears among Nigeria’s neighbors.
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