Nigerian leader says Boko Haram wants to destablise govt
6/24/2012 9:00:01 PM -
LAGOS (AFP) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said Islamist group Boko Haram was seeking to incite a religious crisis by attacking churches in an attempt to destabilise the government.
"Terrorists all over the world have one common agenda: destablising government," he said during a question-and-answer session on national television before describing how the group had moved on from targeting local rivals, to government institutions and now churches.
He said earlier waves of attacks had not brought down the government, leading the group to target churches in Africa's most populous nation, roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
"Attacking churches is to instigate religious crisis," Jonathan said. "They believe that when they attack a church, Christian youths will revolt against Muslim youths. They don't care about who dies in the process ....
"If it doesn't work, the same Boko Haram will start attacking mosques to instigate Muslim youths to attack Christians. So they change their tactics..."
Jonathan however pledged that Nigeria would halt the violence. He said the government was open to dialogue if Boko Haram figures identified themselves and made clear demands.