As New Nigerian President is Sworn In, U.S. Signals Willingness to Expand Cooperation Against Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari at his inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry attended, and met briefly with Mr. Buhari to discuss the Boko Haram threat. (Credit: Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)
President Muhammadu Buhari at his inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry attended, and met briefly with Mr. Buhari to discuss the Boko Haram threat. (Credit: Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

 

As Nigeria swore in Muhammadu Buhari as the new president on Friday, the Obama administration signaled that it was prepared to expand military cooperation in the fight against Boko Haram.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the American delegation at the inauguration, discussed cooperation against Boko Haram in a short meeting on Friday with Mr. Buhari.

“Something we can do quickly is to send advisers,” said a senior State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under the department’s protocol for briefing reporters. “It could be related to intelligence; it could be something very simple, related to things like logistics.”

“We certainly hope to be able to do more,” the official added.

Dignitaries from more than 30 nations attended the inauguration of the 72-year-old Mr. Buhari. The ceremony, which marked Nigeria’s first transition of power from one political party to another since the end of military rule in 1999, was held in Eagle Square.

Wearing a traditional Muslim gown, and holding a Quran, Mr. Buhari promised to uphold Nigeria’s Constitution.

“I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody,” he said in his inaugural address, highlighting his anticorruption theme.

Mr. Buhari also promised to persevere until “Boko Haram is completely subdued.”

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest oil producer, faces several economic problems, which have been aggravated by corruption and poor security.

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SOURCE: MICHAEL R. GORDON
The New York Times

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