The UN Security Council has officially designated Boko Haram as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda and slapped sanctions on the militant group that has carried out bombings and the recent abduction of over 200 school girls in Nigeria.
The Security Council’s al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee approved the addition of Boko Haram to its list of individuals and entities subject to the targeted financial sanctions and arms embargo on Thursday.
The blacklisting by UNSC means that any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to Boko Haram, including the provision of arms or recruits, will be eligible to be added to the al-Qaeda sanctions list and subject to the sanctions measures.
“The Committee stresses the need for robust implementation of the al-Qaeda sanctions regime as a significant tool in combating terrorist activity, and urges all Member States to participate actively by nominating for listing additional individuals, groups, undertaking and entitites which should be subjected to the sanctions measures,” said a committee statement.
The statement also said Boko Haram has embarked on a violent insurgency utilising terrorist tactics.
The move was welcomed by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power who said the sanctions are an “important step” in support of the Nigerian government’s efforts to defeat Boko Haram and hold its “murderous leadership” accountable for atrocities.
“By adding Boko Haram to the UN’s 1267 sanctions list, the Security Council has helped to close off important avenues of funding, travel and weapons to Boko Haram, and shown global unity against their savage actions” she said.
The militant group has been condemned globally for its abduction of more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok on April 14. The group’s leader Abubakar Shekau had claimed responsibility for the abduction in a video released by Boko Haram and has threatened to sell the girls into slavery.
Boko Haram militants subsequently attacked a staging base for rescuers on May 5 killing an additional 310 people.
The group, based in north-eastern Nigeria, has also operated in Cameroon and is responsible for attacks and kidnappings in those two countries.