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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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
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In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.