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Boko Haram now a ‘foreign terrorist organization’

"Boko Haram now a ‘foreign terrorist organization’" Continued...

“When I hear that, I knew that that day I would see my Lord,” Adamu said.

After Adamu refused to denounce his Christian faith, the gunman shot him through the mouth in front of his wife, stomped on him, and left him for dead. He said they shouted “Allah Akbar!”—Arabic for “Allah is great”—before leaving.

Adamu, who became emotional at times, hardly glanced down at his notes as he looked lawmakers in the eye and pleaded with them, on behalf of all victims, to stop “the spilling of innocent blood.” He said God allowed him to live so he could tell his story and do everything possible to end the persecution in northern Nigeria.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and oil-rich country, is roughly split between Muslims and Christians. Muslims have enacted Sharia law in the north, but Boko Haram, among other objectives, wants the entire country to adhere to the strict Muslim code.

Thomas-Greenfield, who estimated Boko Haram membership “probably in the mid-thousands,” said the Nigerian military does have the ability to beat the extremists, but “they need support.”

Witness Jacob Zenn, author of the 2012 book Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram: The Prize in al-Qaeda’s Africa Strategy, told the committee the terrorist designation is a good start, but most of Boko Haram’s funding is now local and non-traditional. He urged the United States to aggressively pursue the group’s underground network of support and not rely on stopping traditional financing methods.

I asked Zenn, who has been investigating Boko Haram for five years, why he thought the administration waited so long to make the terrorist designation, and he said it may be that the government simply didn’t know enough about the group and its operations.

Democrat Brad Sherman, the ranking member of the subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, said the nation has heard a lot about the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia, but “it’s time for us to pivot to Africa.”

Listen to a report on Boko Haram’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization on The World and Everything in It:

J.C. Derrick
J.C. Derrick

J.C. is a reporter in WORLD's Washington Bureau. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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