NIGERIA’s U.N. envoy says she expects the Security Council to declare Boko Haram a terrorist group and impose sanctions on the al-Qaida-linked extremists who have carried out a wave of deadly attacks and the recent abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls.

“I don’t think there will be any objections,” Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu told several reporters on Wednesday.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks at an unknown location in a still image taken from an undated video released by the Islamist group. He has offered to release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters last month in exchange for prisoners, according to a video seen on YouTube. About 100 girls wearing full veils and praying are shown in an undisclosed location in the 17-minute video in which Shekau speaks.

Nigeria, which is serving a two-year term on the council, asked the committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida to add Boko Haram to the list of organizations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze. Unless any of the 14 other council member object by a yesterday afternoon deadline, Boko Haram will be added to the al-Qaida sanctions list. Ogwu said “the important thing is to attack the problem, and that is terrorism.”


80 US troops begin operation in Chad

EIGHTY U.S. Air Force personnel have begun their mission in Chad to help locate nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped in neighbouring Nigeria, a U.S. military spokesman said yesterday.

The girls and young women were kidnapped on April 15 from a school in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok by an Islamic extremist group known as Boko Haram. The group’s leader has threatened to sell most of the estimated 276 schoolgirls still being held into slavery unless the Nigerian government releases detained militants. Reports say some girls were taken across borders into Chad and Cameroon.

Chuck Prichard, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Africa Command in Germany, said yesterday that the 80 Air Force personnel were moved to Chad from a location inside the United States. Prichard did not say precisely where the 80 were previously stationed.

President Barack Obama told Congress in a letter about the deployment. Obama said the service members will help with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the nearby region. A senior U.S. official said the drone is a Predator and will be in addition to the unarmed Global Hawks already being used. The new flights will be based out of Chad and allow the military to expand its search to that country.

Comoros bans ‘#bringbackourgirls’ march

COMOROS— THE majority Muslim island nation of the Comoros has banned a march over the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic extremists, amid accusations the government wants to dodge religiously sensitive issues.

Officials in the capital Moroni rejected a request to march from children’s rights group Maeecha, saying “it is not possible to grant you permission to walk in the streets of the capital, for reasons related to the circulation of traffic.”

But NGOs accused the government of the Indian Ocean island of trying to silence debate on the actions of Islamist radicals. The non-governmental Solidarity Association of the Indian Ocean Islands had appealed to the government to speak out on the kidnapping by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, but met a wall of silence.

“Authorities that I consulted just after the kidnapping told me to wait because according to them it concerned a sensitive topic, religion,” said the group’s Soilha Said Mdahoma. Boko Haram, whose name loosely translates as “Western education is forbidden”, kidnapped the girls from their dormitory on April 14, has claimed they converted to Islam and has threatened to sell them.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.