Buhari returns home without U.S. arms deal

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari before a bilateral meeting on May 29, 2015. Photo: U.S. State Department
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari before a bilateral meeting on May 29, 2015. Photo: U.S. State Department

By Ed Adamczyk

ABUJA, Nigeria, July 23 (UPI) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returned home from a Washington visit with no agreement from the United States to sell weapons.

The newly-inaugurated Buhari spent four days in the United States, seeking weapons to help defeat the insurgent militant group Boko Haram, but although he was greeted warmly by President Barack Obama, was rebuffed on weapons sales. The United States believes such sales would contravene the Leahy Law, a U.S. human rights law prohibiting the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign countries which violate human rights.

He returned to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, without assurances of U.S. military aid.

Speaking to the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington on Wednesday, Buhari suggested the denial of weapons sales was helping Boko Haram.

“In our efforts at combating the activities of Boko Haram, the new Government has sought and obtained the support of not only our neighbors, other international friends and partners. Regrettably, the blanket application of the Leahy Law by the United States on the grounds of unproven allegations of human rights violations levelled against our forces has denied us access to appropriate strategic weapons to prosecute the war against the insurgents. In the face of abduction of innocent school girls from their hostels, indiscriminate bombings of civilians in markets and places of worship, our forces have remained largely impotent. This is because they do not possess the appropriate weapons and technology which they could have had, had the so-called human rights violations not been an obstacle. Unwittingly, and I dare say, unintentionally, the application of the Leahy law amendment by the U. S. Government has aided and abated the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate, the indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians, in raping of women and girls, and in their other heinous crimes.”

Amnesty International claims Nigeria’s military is responsible for the deaths of over 8,000 detainees, twice the number of Boko Haram’s victims.

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