United Nations May List Boko Haram as Terror Group as Nigeria Shifts Course to Combat Extremists

Deborah Peter listens as Rep. Ed Royce (R) of California speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday during a pre-hearing news conference. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Deborah Peter listens as Rep. Ed Royce (R) of California speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday during a pre-hearing news conference. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

After years of trying to limit international attention to the extremist group Boko Haram, Nigeria is switching course and is now seeking global recognition of the Islamist militants as a terrorist organization.

The United Nations Security Council could act as early as Thursday on a Nigerian request to have Boko Haram placed on the UN’s list of terrorist organizations associated with Al Qaeda.

Nigeria, currently serving on the 15-member council as one of 10 rotating members, made the request Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, President Obama announced that 80 US military personnel have been sent to Chad on Nigeria’s northeastern border. The troops are assigned to helping in what has become an international search for more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April and still being held by the radical group.

Nigeria’s acceptance and indeed solicitation of international assistance in dealing with Boko Haram marks a shift from past efforts to downplay the seriousness of the violent group’s threat to the country’s security and stability. Just two years ago, the government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan pressed the State Department not to place Boko Haram on the US list of terrorist organizations.

The US did ultimately place the group on its list of terrorist organizations last fall after determining in particular that Boko Haram had growing ties to Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Africa’s Sahel and Maghreb regions.

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SOURCE:  
Christian Science Monitor

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