If the Obama administration is really interested in conducting America's foreign relations differently, it should take a deep seated interest in the situation in Nigeria right now.
The New York Times reported Nigerian security forces on Thursday confirmed the death of the leader of a fundamentalist Islamic sect in the city of Maiduguri, apparently ending a fierce five-day campaign against the group that may have left hundreds dead across northern Nigeria.
The militant group led by Mohammed Yusuf, known as Boko Haram or Taliban, wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and impose a strict version of Islamic law. It has been blamed for days of violent unrest in which hundreds of people died in clashes between his followers and security forces.
A military spokesman would not say exactly how Yusuf was killed, though it has been widely reported that he was killed after being captured. But in an interview with the BBC's Network Africa, the Nigerian Information Minister Dora Akunyili said while she was concerned about the death and that the government would find out "exactly what happened," Yusuf's demise was "positive" for Nigeria.
The State Department has not commented on the Nigerian situation so far, but such alleged police violence would likely raise tricky questions when Secretary Clinton visits next week, as part of her seven-nation African swing that begins Aug. 5 in Kenya at the 8th U.S. - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum.