Baku-APA. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield asserted on Thursday that Boko Haram and its capture of key towns across Nigeria's northern region pose a threat to the reputation of the Nigerian army and the future of the country, APA reports quoting AA.
"We are deeply troubled by the apparent capture of Bama and the prospects for an attack on and in Maiduguri which would impose a tremendous toll on the civilian population," Thomas-Greenfield told the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission’s Regional Security Working Group in Abuja.
"All of these developments are deeply disturbing and increasingly dangerous with each passing day," she said.
Thomas-Greenfield added that the trend puts the reputation of Nigeria's military "at stake."
"But more importantly Nigeria's and its children's future is in jeopardy," she said. "Failure is not an option."
Boko Haram has already overrun the towns of Gamboru Ngala, Dikwa and Gwoza, all in Borno; Buni Yadi and Bara in neighboring Yobe State; and Madagali in Adamawa State.
The group is also said to be now in full control of Bama, a town nearly 60km from Maiduguri, the heavily populated provincial capital of Borno state.
Boko Haram's elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau, recently declared all territories under Boko Haram control to be part of an "Islamic caliphate" in northern Nigeria.
The Nigerian military, for its part, has dismissed Boko Haram's claims, insisting that no part of the country had – or would be – conceded to the militant group.
Since May of last year, the three states – Borno, Yobe and Adamawa – have all remained in a state of emergency, imposed by the government with the stated aim of curbing the Boko Haram "menace."
The senior American diplomat expressed Washington's commitment to continue to help Nigeria to combat violent extremism.
"Both countries agreed in principle to an expanded effort to strengthen Nigerian security institutions through the Security Governance Initiative," according to the statement read by the leader of the Nigerian delegation Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi.
"This initiative, announced by U.S. President Barack Obama in August 2014, represents an opportunity to work together to strengthen security institutions to effectively address the transnational and domestic threats that challenge social and economic progress," he added.