U.S. Labels Nigeria’s Boko Haram as Terrorist Group

A deserted Nigerian student hostel, whose six occupants were shot dead in a wave of July and August attacks attributed to the Boko Haram militant group. The United States on Wednesday designated Boko Haram, which has sought to establish an Islamic state in Western Africa, as a terrorist organization.
National Journal
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
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Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
Nov. 13, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

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.”

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