The Nigerian government requested for the suspension of the US government’s training programme for Nigerian soldiers less than a month after the US government refused to sell the Cobra attack helicopters to Nigeria.
“At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion,” the US Embassy in the capital, Abuja, said in an e-mailed statement.
The training programme was designed to help Nigeria battle the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram who have in recent days and weeks intensified attacks, leading to killing and injuring innocent civilians.
The US turned down the helicopter request “due to concerns about Nigeria’s ability to use and maintain this type of helicopter in its effort against Boko Haram and ongoing concerns about the Nigerian military’s protection of civilians when conducting military operations,” State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said in Washington on November 12.
Suspected Boko Haram members carried out two attacks on cities in Nigeria’s north-east on Monday, killing at least five people, same day that the US released a statement halting the military training.
“We regret premature termination of this training, as it was to be the first in a larger planned project that would have trained additional units with the goal of helping the Nigerian Army build capacity to counter Boko Haram,” the embassy said.