US secretary of state, John Kerry, to visit Nigeria “in a couple of days”


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he plans to visit Nigeria, where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is waging an insurgency, “in a couple of days”.

Kerry spoke in Davos as he gave an address to global business and political leaders on countering violent extremism.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Kerry would meet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running for re-election on Feb. 14 amid criticism over his handling of the insurgency threatening Nigeria as a unified state.

Kerry described Islamic State militants, who have seized wide swathes of Iraq and Syria, as “a collection of monsters”. He said ultra-radical groups like Islamic State and Boko Haram “are attempting to govern land. It’s a first-time event”.

He compared efforts to curb the spread of extremist violence to the fight against fascism in World War Two. “The first step is to make clear the civilized world will not cower in the face of this violence,” he said.

Kerry made no specific new proposals for how to counter the tide of violent militancy. U.S. President Barack Obama has invited allies to a Washington summit on the issue on Feb. 18.

Saying world leaders must “keep our heads,” Kerry warned: “The biggest error that we could make would be to blame Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone.

“Unless we direct our energies in the right direction, we may very well fuel the very fires we want to put out,” he said. “There’s no room for sectarian division, there’s no room for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.”

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