AFRICOM denies that US troops on alert for Nigeria


The United States is not preparing for any possible intervention in Nigeria, as was erroneously reported in the Nigerian Compass newspaper, a spokesperson for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said.

“I have seen the news report, and it is wrong,” Vince Crawley, a spokesperson for US Africa Command, said. “The United States is not preparing, planning or alerting personnel for military intervention in Nigeria, or, for that matter, any other African nation.”

Crawley added, “General William E. Ward, commander of US Africa Command, has issued no military orders with regard to Nigeria. US Africa Command does not have any assigned military forces and has not requested any for operations in Nigeria.”

The Nigerian Compass newspaper ran a story headlined: “US plots military strategy for Nigeria’s ‘breakup'” The article incorrectly states: “President Barack Obama is preparing American troops for a special intervention in Nigeria, in the event of a widespread chaos that could threaten oil production, a top brass in the US army and a security expert have revealed. According to the Commander, US Africa Command (AFRICOM), General William Ward, American troops have been placed on red alert as the government is monitoring the political situation in Africa’s most populous nation.”

Ward has not placed any troop on alert, Crawley said, adding, “The article provides no sources for its allegation. It goes on to quote, without attribution, a March 16 Voice of America article that quotes a longtime critic of US policy in Africa, who speculates about whether unrest in Nigeria would trigger military intervention.”

Some critics of US policy in Africa have speculated that US Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was created to militarily protect US oil interests in Africa. US officials continue to deny the allegations.
“Africa is a continent that is rich in natural resources, to be sure,” Ward said during an interview with Ghanaian journalists February 26.
“It is not our intent to dominate, to take control of those resources,” Ward said. ”

Now, we have no designs on being the dominating force. We have no designs on being the controlling force. We would like to see those resources available in free, open, competitive ways, where their availability is open to the global community, and where they can be used to the betterment of the people of the nations of Africa, where those resources reside.”

On March 4, the US Department of State issued a formal statement regarding the political situation in Nigeria, where vice President Goodluck Jonathan has become acting president due to the health condition of President Umaru Yar’Adua. “We applaud the Nigerian leaders who have taken steps to restore confidence in the country’s political system while adhering to democratic principles,” Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said in the statement.

Pic: US troops