U.S. Ready To Designate Boko Haram A Terrorist Group

THERE are now clear indications that the U.S. government is set to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO). Its refusal to do in the last one year has provoked controversy over the true position of Americans on the matter.
The U.S. government had, last year, designated three Boko Haram leaders as global terrorists, but refused to label the organisation itself. This has caused an intense debate raising such questions as how leaders of a “non-terrorist” group could be terrorists.
But in an online interview, the new Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the US government now considers the Nigeria-based terror group a terrorist group.
Besides Thomas-Greenfield’s comments, top U.S. Congressmen have also indicated that they were aware of a change of heart at the US State Department regarding the American government’s attitude to the question of designating Boko Haram, an FTO.
Even before the new Assistant Secretary of State for Africa spoke late in the week, President Barack Obama had, during his recent meeting with Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, described Boko Haram a vicious organisation giving the first indication of an impending change in US official attitude and stance on the sect.
Answering questions, the new US Assistant Secretary of State categorically responded that “we do consider Boko Haram a terrorist group. We have sanctioned all the top three leaders of Boko Haram.”
Observers of US government affairs and diplomats explained over the weekend that while the comments of the new Assistant Secretary of State did not completely announce the designation of Boko Haram as an FTO, her statement was a dramatic change to the stance of the US State Department on the matter of Boko Haram being a terrorist organisation.
Under the leadership of Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the immediate past US Assistant Secretary of State, the US State Department outrightly refused to refer to Boko Haram as a terrorist group. Even earlier this year when the State Department announced the $7m bounty put on the head of the Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau, the statement still refrained from describing Boko Haram as a terrorist group, merely describing Shekau and two others as terrorists.