Menu

World

In 1st official trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Kerry urges Nigeria to respect human rights

d0a76a6845fbaf11320f6a70670019d5.jpg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakea hands with Palestinian restaurant employees as he stops by for a snack after his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday, May 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Fadi Arouri, Pool)The Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Nigeria must respect human rights as it cracks down on the Islamist extremists. He's also pledging to work hard in the coming months to ease tensions between Sudan and South Sudan.

Kerry is in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time as secretary of state, attending the African Union's 50th anniversary.

He says Nigeria's government is right to fight terrorism, but its forces must not engage in atrocities. U.S. officials say they believe there are continuing abuses occurring in Nigeria's north where President Goodluck Jonathan has declared emergency rule.

Kerry also blamed Sudan's government for much of the tension along its volatile border with South Sudan. He says residents don't want to be subjected to strict Islamist rules.