First on CNN: U.S. to designate Boko Haram a terror group
A poster displayed along the road shows photograph of Imam Abubakar Shekau, leader of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, declared wanted by the Nigerian military with $320,471 reward for information that could lead to his capture in northeastern Nigeria town of Maiduguri May 1, 2013.
November 12th, 2013
06:42 PM ET

First on CNN: U.S. to designate Boko Haram a terror group

By Elise Labott

The State Department will designate Boko Haram, a Nigeria-based extremist group with ties to al Qaeda, and Ansaru, an offshoot, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, U.S. officials told CNN.

The move enables the United States to freeze assets, impose travel bans on known members and affiliates, and prohibit Americans from offering material support.

The United States says Boko Haram has killed thousands since 2009. Human rights groups put the figure at more than 3,000.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa-Fulani language, has launched a self-described "war on Christians" and seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia law across northeastern Nigeria, if not the entire country.

It has attacked various targets in the West African nation since its formation in the late 1990s, according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. This includes killing and kidnapping Westerners, and bombing schools, churches and mosques, the center said.

In August, militants allegedly went into a mosque in Borno state and killed 44 worshipers.

The group released a video boasting that it was growing stronger and had launched attacks in Benisheikh in September that the State Department said left 160 civilians dead, many of them Muslim women and children.

Opinion: Should U.S. fear Boko Haram?

In recent months, it has stepped up attacks against students at English-language schools. In September, the State Department said Boko Haram attacked an agricultural school, killing 50 students in their dorm as they slept.

Earlier this month, the United Nations warned the extremist group could be found guilty of crimes against humanity after it launched a brutal attack on a wedding party that killed more than 30 people.

The U.N. refugee agencies estimates more than 8,000 people in Northern Nigeria have fled into neighboring Cameroon to escape the escalating violence and another 5,000 have become internally displaced.

While the group's principle focus is Nigeria, the United States cites links to the al Qaeda affiliate in West Africa, and extremist groups in Mali.

Gen. Carter Ham, then the commander of U.S. Africa Command, warned Congress that Boko Haram elements "aspire to a broader regional level of attacks," including against United States and European interests.

A Boko Haram suicide attack on the United Nations building two years ago in the Nigerian capital of Abuja killed at least 25 people.

In June 2012, the State Department added several of the group's members to a terrorist blacklist, including its new leader Abubakar Shekau, who has a $7 million bounty on his head.

The decision to designate Boko Haram and Ansaru followed a robust debate.

The administration faced intense pressure from Congress and some officials to list the group, but other officials and experts warned it did not pose a threat to the United States, but that Washington could become a target as a result of the designation.

Other officials argued the Nigerian government could interpret the decision as an American green light to continue its heavy handed crackdown on the organization.

President Goodluck Jonathan stepped up a military campaign against the group six months ago, declaring a six-month state of emergency in May in the three northeastern states worst hit by the violence.

Recent Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports accused the Nigerian military of human rights abuses and violations when conducting operations against the group. The UN said it is investigating the claims.

Who are the world's 10 most dangerous terrorists?

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. www.newsafrica.co.uk

    Reblogged this on http://www.newsafrica.co.uk.

    November 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  2. rkfrom ny

    ..about time

    November 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  3. CanadianPOV

    Boko Haram is a terrorist group? What was your first clue?

    November 13, 2013 at 11:51 am | Reply
  4. Towel Heads

    Towel Heads is what Towel Heads do.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
  5. billy

    OMG, I bet the Bokos are shaking in their sandals – they could care less what the US or the world thinks
    of them.

    November 13, 2013 at 6:42 am | Reply
  6. Sadiq

    they kill anything kill-able, Muslims, Christians, politicians, police, soldiers, foreigners etc just for the heck of it. they represent nothing but share terror. there are simply a bunch of bandits, miscreants, renegades, and mindless murderers who deserve to be eliminated – period

    November 13, 2013 at 3:43 am | Reply
    • TheMainMeav

      In other words, good Muslims.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:55 am | Reply
      • Isqeel

        In other words, You cant give what(a functioning brain) you don't have

        November 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  7. Random

    If you want to shut them down you need to stop focusing on the branches of pawns and wipe out the C&C. There is a group making the calls, funding, and allocating resources. They won't do anything that they feel risks the proper reaction, which is a world reaction. I called them an international threat and suggested wiping out the hordes of islamic gihadist flooding into syria and the next day isis and other factions were effectively split and one was deactivated. They will do as much as they can get away with with out generating a reaction. Our reasoning for refusing assad apc to move chemical weapons was 'he would use them on syrians' I say that is bs. If we are such good friends with the moderate syrians tell them to stop for a while . Even assuming he usesthem on rebels they are not syrians. What would we do if a bunch of mexicans or canadians invaded us and started a civil war? we would slaughter them.
    Either we should supply the equipment needed , or if our politicians won't Putin needs to. Remember this whole thing is in the end on him. It is him standing up for syria, him who chose to do this and his word that he could make it work with his syrian allies. Not providing equipment to meet the goals we have there is a mistake. One way or the other give them what they need to meet our demands. If we wont, then russia has to get it done. They already sell arms. There cannot afford to be room for failure. Failure will hurt all involved.

    November 13, 2013 at 2:33 am | Reply
  8. maias

    Boko Haram, the supposedly Islamic group which is against western education, so Nigerians can't read the words of the Prophet (pbuh) that "it is the DUTY of EVERY Muslim to seek education". And to "seek knowledge, even unto China".

    Why are the allowed to get away with this blasphemy? Why has there been no condemnation or fatwas issued against them by prominent Muslim scholars and leaders?

    November 13, 2013 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • Hamm

      Its actually Western Education they are after. Not education in general

      November 13, 2013 at 4:15 am | Reply
    • greenislanddreams

      This should have been done long ago.

      November 13, 2013 at 5:07 am | Reply
  9. anindya

    it does not matter, whether USA declares any outfit as terrorist organisation or not. the country which creates taliban is not in a position to call anyone a terrorist.

    November 13, 2013 at 1:08 am | Reply
  10. nasha

    i dont think this group is terror , like hamas is not terror...

    November 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  11. tony

    Amazing! We can designate groups as "terrorists, but no-one in the UD government can write down a specification of exactly what a terrorist is (or isn't)..

    November 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  12. Viper

    I know two groups they could add to the list..

    Homeland Security and the NSA! :)

    November 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • nik green

      Absolutely correct. But even more to the point, members of the previous administration to whom evidence clearly points to complicity and accessory before the fact, at the very LEAST, in the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Of this, there is no doubt. The only problem, is that these characters are above and beyond the law; out of reach of justice. Furthermore, there is an unwillingness on the part of a large segment of the public to even look into the events of that day, outside of the comfort-zone-driven 4th-rate conspiracy theory provided by the government and peddled by the corporate media.

      November 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  13. Portland tony

    There have been so-called terrorist groups around since written history. If they win, they are called liberators or patriots. If they lose.....they are either shot, flee or join the winners. Although Boko Haram is a relatively nasty group, they are not planning an attack on the US. They are fighting for their little corner of the world. There are 100's of such independent revolutionary groups throughout the world revolting against something or other. Why is the US getting politically involved in these local disputes as terrible as they are? Aid the good guys if there are any....but let's stay out of it!

    November 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  14. JOSH P.

    WHen will add ourselves to that group,we are in BED with them in Syria and Libya before that.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  15. sammy750

    I believe it several members of the Tea Party.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • rs1201

      drop dead mor onic imb3cil3

      November 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  16. John Geheran

    A no-brainier. If the WH did its homework, it would list the MB as a terrorist organization as well. In addition to sponsoring and supporting Hamas, the Brotherhood has fiendishly clever plans for the destruction of democracies in Europe and North America "from within". It did not take the Russians long to agree with the Egyptians that the MB had to be weeded out. Armed with a Saudi checkbook and a basket full of offerings for military hardware, Putin and his Generals swooped into Cairo to fill the vacuum created by Obama's alliance with the BH.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  17. Brian Smith

    US to designate NSA a 'terror organization' – watch your backs guys.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  18. John B. Schroeder

    These slimy things should be fed to crocodiles on prime time TV. I have nothing against peaceable Muslims, but no terrorist should be left alive.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  19. Nat

    While we're at it, can we name the idiots who voted for Obamacare terrorists too??

    November 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  20. Rockafeller

    Thank God Americans are idiots.
    After the Soviet Union fell, we needed a new enemy.
    So we created Al Queda.
    Now we can be at war forever, because these groups that we trained
    and financed can "POP" up anyplace.
    Just like "whack-a-mole"
    Business is good.
    We need to increase defence spending.

    Thank you very much.

    David Rockafeller.

    November 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  21. Tom

    Errr... Why the hell wasn't this done ages ago?

    November 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
    • oug collins

      we all thought they were. except the US Government I guess.
      at least they know now

      November 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  22. bob blob

    Chinese soldiers arrive in USA real news

    November 12, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  23. d

    Dzhokhar Harem: the teenage girls who want to have Tsarnaev's baby.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  24. Bill

    Our government considers US AMERICANS a terror threat, so how is this news?
    \\\\\\

    November 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  25. Bribarian

    everyone has ties to Al Qaeda, including Washington, especially

    November 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  26. Procol Harum

    I approve of Drone usage.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  27. Redeye Dog

    Al Qaeda yesterday, Boko Haram today. Different names but same goals. Makes you wonder how Obama wants to confirm Jeh C. Johnson as the new DHS Director after he made a public statement indicating Al Qaeda will be soon a history as if the threat somehow leaves after Al Qaeda is gone. Shallow thinking...

    November 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • whatisthetruth

      Does make one wonder! Kind of like taking out a drug dealer, take one down and another pops up! With one big difference...we have not defeated Al Qaeda...branches out like a tree with many limbs. Question is ...how many groups are out there like Boko Haram? Shallow thinking...Yes!

      November 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      You are partially right. Although we, thru our informed press, call all the non governmental so-called terrorists al Qaeda, they are in reality a bunch of mostly tribal and ethnic based groups who are fighting over territorial and religious issues. The rebels in Syria are fighting for entirely different reasons than those in Africa, Afghanistan or Pakistan, but if we call them all al Qaeda or affiliates...they must be bad guys!

      November 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  28. TheProphet

    Is it just me, or is that reward like 50 trillion dollars?

    November 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  29. TheProphet

    Seriously? Procol Harum a terrorist Group?
    I know a "Whiter Shade of Pale" wasn't all that great, but...

    November 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      BOKO
      BOKO Not Poco, Poco doesn't have a harem, they are just 'Pickin' up the Pieces'

      November 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  30. jaji

    They are killing other muslims too? what a shame. U see this group have nothing to do with Islam or Chirstianity. they are simply thugs and renegades, they have no religious compass as they claim to posses.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  31. kirkbross

    Yay! Defense contractors can celebrate the new revenue stream... I mean enemy.

    November 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply

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