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UN blacklists Nigeria’s Boko Haram

The UN Security Council committee on al-

Qaeda sanctions has blacklisted Nigeria's Boko

Haram, a month after the armed

group kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls.

Nigeria, which until recently had been

reluctant to seek international help to combat

Boko Haram, requested earlier this week the

group be sanctioned. As a result, it is now

subject to an international asset freeze, travel

ban and arms embargo.

"What will the practical impact of that be?

Hard to say but it's an essential step we had to

take," said Australian UN Ambassador Gary

Quinlan, the al-Qaeda sanctions committee

chair, adding that the aim was to "dry up

support" for the group.

"We will work to try and make sure that

anybody supplying any material assistance to

Boko Haram – whether funding or arms – will

in fact be stopped, will be deterred by the fact

they too will be eligible for listing on the

sanctions list."

RELATED: The origins of Nigeria's Boko

Haram

Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a

secondary school in Chibok in remote

northeastern Nigeria on April 14 and has

threatened to sell them into slavery. Eight

other girls were taken from another village

earlier this month.

Boko Haram's five-year-old insurgency is

aimed at creating an Islamic state the north

of Nigeria, whose 170 million people are split

roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.

'Terrorist expertise'

The UN listing entry describes Boko Haram as

an affiliate of al-Qaeda and the Organisation of

al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

"Boko Haram has maintained a relationship

with the Organisation of al-Qaeda in the

Islamic Maghreb for training and material

support purposes," according to the narrative

summary accompanying the listing.

"For example, Boko Haram gained valuable

knowledge on the construction of improvised

explosive devices from AQIM. A number of

Boko Haram members fought alongside al-

Qaeda affiliated groups in Mali [in] 2012 and

2013 before returning to Nigeria with terrorist

expertise," Reuters quoted the document as

saying.

US Ambassador Samantha Power hailed the

sanctions as "an important step" to support

Nigeria in defeating "Boko Haram and hold its

murderous leadership accountable for

atrocities."

The group has recently escalated its campaign

of attacks that have left thousands dead since

2009, and the abduction of the schoolgirls

have sparked global outrage.

Twenty-nine farm workers were shot dead by

suspected Boko Haram members on Thursday

in a remote area in the northeast. It comes day

after bombings in the city of Jos , blamed on

the group, killed about 130 people.

Abuja protest

In the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday,

about 200 protesters called on President

Goodluck Jonathan to do more to recover the

girls.

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from

the protest, said the demonstrators were

marching towards the president's office were

stopped by police.

"The police formed a ring around the

protesters who defiantly sat in the middle of

the road," he said.

A government delegation met the marchers

and delivered a statement from Jonathan.

In it, the Nigerian leader reiterated the

government's commitment to finding the girls

but said protests should be directed at "the

terrorists who have abducted our innocent

daughters."

The statement irked the demonstrators, who

demanded to meet Jonathan.

"Please let Mr President know that none of the

issues raised has been addressed," said march

organiser Obi Ezekwesili, a former education

minister and World Bank executive.

Many state-run schools were shut on Thursday

on the orders of the Nigerian Union of

Teachers to allow a "day of protest" against the

abduction of the girls, the AFP news agency

reported.

The United States announced Wednesday that

80 military personnel had been deployed to

neighbouring Chad to help find the 223

missing girls.

Nigeria has also accepted help from British,

French and Israeli specialists amid a

groundswell of pressure fuelled by a social

media campaign.

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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