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US government overlooking human rights concerns with Nigeria warplane sale

Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri, Borno State on 25 March 2016.
Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri, Borno State on 25 March 2016. Photo: Stefan Heunis/AFP

The US government is pushing forward with plans to sell light aircraft to the Nigerian military to help in their battle against the hardline Islamist group Boko Haram. Twelve Super Tucano attack aircraft worth 600 million dollars will be sold to Nigeria, according to US officials cited by several reports last week. However, there are still concerns about human rights abuses committed by the Nigerian military such as the accidental bombing in January of a camp for displaced people. Some experts also worry that the Super Tucano is not the best strategic choice in the fight against Boko Haram, nor does it offer the best value for money to the Nigerian government. RFI spoke to Matthew Page, a former intelligence analyst on Nigeria for the US State Department.



“With the arrival of the Buhari administration, the US government felt a strong degree of pressure to essentially change tact and do something that showed that they were much committed to helping Nigeria fighting Boko Haram…The human rights concerns persist and after the Buhari government came into office, my sense was that the US government essentially wiped the slate clean.”

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