WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday formally designated the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. The new label is aimed at facilitating the international investigation and prosecution of those believed “responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years, including targeted killings of civilians,” according to a State Department release.
Boko Haram is believed to have links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Washington also listed Ansaru, a Boko Haram offshoot, as a foreign terrorist organization. That organization is blamed for the kidnapping and execution earlier this year of seven multinational construction workers. The groups are additionally believed to have been behind the 2011 suicide bombing of a United Nations facility in Abuja, which left 21 dead and dozens more injured.
U.S. military officials have voiced concern on occasion that regional extremist groups such as Boko Haram might acquire chemical weapons that may be less than fully secured in North Africa or elsewhere.
“By cutting these terrorist organizations off from U.S. financial institutions and enabling banks to freeze assets held in the United States, these designations demonstrate our strong support for Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and its efforts to address security challenges in the north,” Lisa Monico, President Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, said in a written statement.
“We encourage Nigeria to pursue a comprehensive counterterrorism approach that uses law enforcement tools effectively, creates economic opportunity, and ensures that human rights are protected and respected,” she said. “The United States stands firmly with the people of Nigeria in their efforts to bring the terrorist violence perpetrated by these groups to an end.”
What We're Following See More »
President Trump is taking heat for another series of tweets, this one aimed at the co-hosts of Morning Joe. “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” Trump wrote. “Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” In a tweet, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said of Trump's statement, "This is not okay." NBC public relations chief Mark Kornblau said it's "beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States."
"Congressional investigators now want to interview Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Schiller, the former head of security for the Trump Organization who now serves as the White House director of Oval Office operations, is one of several Trump associates on the House Intelligence Committee’s witness list in its ongoing investigation into Russian election interference."
"After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque in Mosul from where Islamic State proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago," and the Iraqi military expect the entire city to be retaken in a matter of days. "Their fictitious state has fallen," said an Iraqi military spokesman.
"The move puts to death the long-suffering tie-up between Walgreens and Rite Aid, which was originally announced in October 2015 ...The new deal was designed to alleviate the FTC's concerns about the market overlap between Walgreens and Rite Aid and the bolstered bargaining power a full acquisition would have given Walgreens. Rite Aid said it had to ditch the original deal after regulators privately 'led the company to believe that the parties would not have obtained FTC clearance to consummate the merger.'"