U.S. designates leaders of African group as terrorists
A screengrab taken from a video released on You Tube on April 12, 2012 apparently shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (C) sitting flanked by militants. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
June 21st, 2012
07:53 PM ET

U.S. designates leaders of African group as terrorists

By Jamie Crawford

The United States has designated as terrorists three senior members of Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group in Nigeria whose attacks and those of its associates have left more than a thousand dead.

The State Department announced the designation Thursday of Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar, and Khalid al-Barnawi as "specially designated global terrorists" under the authority of an existing presidential executive order.

Shekau is the most visible leader of Boko Haram, the State Department said, while al-Barnawi and Kambar maintain close links to al Qaeda affiliates as part of their role in the group.

"These designations demonstrate the United States' resolve in diminishing the capacity of Boko Haram to execute violent attacks," the State Department said in a written statement announcing the designation. "The Department of State took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury."

From its base in Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has waged a violent campaign of bombings of Christian churches in Nigeria that have killed hundreds and wounded many more. The group is also blamed for an attack on a United Nations building in the Nigerian capital of Abuja last year that killed at least 23 people.

The group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," has referred to itself as the "Nigerian Taliban." It seeks to overthrow the Nigerian government and replace it with a regime based on Islamic law.

Obama administration officials have expressed concerns that the group is beginning to cooperate with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) - the Northern Africa based affiliate of the group - and another al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, al Shabaab, to target American interests in Africa.

The announcement drew criticism from some on Capitol Hill who feel the State Department should have gone further by designating Boko Haram as a whole a terrorist entity.

"The legal ramifications of this designation only affect dealings with three designated individuals, and not the wider Boko Haram organization, which is growing in intent, capability and targeting capacity," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a written statement. "A conservative estimate of Boko Haram's size would be a couple hundred, making three members symbolic, but not sufficient."

"We're continuing to look at the question of a broader designation," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday. "Boko Haram is at the moment a loosely constructed group attached to trying to address grievances in the north (of Nigeria). There are different views within the group, and we're continuing to look at that."

The terrorist designation blocks all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of the three individuals named, and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with, or for the benefit of, the three.


Filed under: Africa • Boko Haram • Nigeria • State Department
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Ahaiwe Victor (USA)

    Boko haram in Nigeria is controlled by some northern politicians namely, Buhari, IBB, Atiku. etc, I am the CEO of a security company in USA, All i need is a mandate by Nigerian Government, and I promise in less than 30days, there will be no boko haram in any part of Nigeria

    July 3, 2012 at 12:09 am | Reply
  2. Mary

    the world is fighting each other because the world is really fighting satan and all his dark spiritual realm, and that cannot be won over or erradicated nor satan unless it is thru God Almighty, Yawhve. We humans cannot do other than resist the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. In the beginning he was a liar and he was the first rebel. His tree is a bad tree and all trees which do not produce good fruit get cut down and thrown into the lake of fire. All who proclaim killing is ok even in the name of god, is only following satan and satan only wants your death not your life. The real god , God Almighty, has sent His Son to die for all these horrendous nature in humans (desire to kill) but even that, satan advices his followers to reject and to even kill in the name of christ so no one can understand much less get saved. Rejecting God Almighty (which is Christ) means eternal death not life. Killing and praying for the enemy's death, and vengeance, and rebellion, and bloodshed and violence are from satan and those who practice it will go to hell alogn with satan. and the end is near....people prepare... there is no time to play around and be ignorant...'my people perish for lack of knowledge' said God and that means if you dont know the truth , even if yourcountry refuses you the truth, you will have no eternal life for rebelling against the true God Almighty.

    June 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  3. Mary

    why would a good God "bless" people who love bloodshedding activities and desire death more than life? becaue it is not a good God or a God at all whose behind that type of people.The real God hates rebellion and it is the activity for which Satan got thrown out of the Kingdom of God. The first rebel was satan. So keep showing your true colors because God in Heaven DOES NOT REQUIRE KILLING AND HATRED but the opposite in order to survive for His Kingdom. Anyone whose religion claims killing is ok is acting according to Satan not God. And don't ask about the Old Testament, that is OLD and the New Testament came in. No more sacrifices or killing or hatred, lest you want to go to hell.

    June 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply

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