Ten Things the United States Is Doing To Counter Boko Haram

Posted by Rhonda Shore
May 16, 2014
Nigerians Hold a Vigil for the Girls Abducted by Boko Haram

Nigeria has the continent’s largest population and largest economy, and it plays a vital role in efforts to resolve crises and promote stability and prosperity in West Africa and beyond. In the midst of rapid economic growth, however, Nigeria faces security challenges, notably Boko Haram, a violent Islamist movement that has staged regular attacks in northern Nigeria since 2010.

Countering terrorism requires a holistic approach.  The United States is working with Nigeria and other international partners to help promote and support such an approach to Boko Haram.  This list identifies 10 ways the United States is working to assist Nigeria's counterterrorism efforts.

  1. Boko Haram commanders Abubakar Shekau, Khalid al-Barnawi, and Abubakar Adam Kambar were designated on June 21, 2012, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
  2. The U.S. government designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224 in November 2013.
  3. Since June 2013, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program has advertised a reward offer of up to US $7 million for information leading to the location of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
  4. Counterterrorism support to Nigeria focuses on building critical counterterrorism capabilities among Nigeria’s civilian and law enforcement agencies.
  5. As part of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission Framework, the United States and Nigeria holds regular Regional Security working group meetings focused on the Boko Haram threat.

    Soldiers and police inspect a compound attacked by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Dec, 2. 2013. [AP File Photo]

  6. The State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program enhances Nigerian law enforcement’s capability to prevent, detect, and investigate terrorism threats; secure Nigeria’s borders; and manage responses to terrorist incidents in a rule-of-law framework.
  7. Countering violent extremism efforts include promoting engagement between law enforcement and citizens, and elevating the role of women civil society leaders.
  8. Nigeria is an active member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and will join the United States as one of the founding members of the International Institute on Justice and the Rule of Law, which will open its doors in June 2014 in Malta to provide rule of law based counterterrorism training.
  9. Nigeria is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), a U.S. government-funded and implemented effort designed to enhance regional security sector capacity to counter violent extremism, improve border and customs systems, strengthen financial controls, and build law enforcement and security sector capacity.
  10. The State Department’s Counterterrorism Finance (CTF) program provides training that aims to restrict Boko Haram’s ability to raise, move, and store money.

The United States has been working to counter Boko Haram for many years, and we will continue to do so.  

About the Author: Rhonda Shore serves as Senior Public Affairs Advisor in the Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT).  Follow @StateDeptCT on Twitter for updates from the CT Bureau.

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joan j.
Washington, USA
May 16, 2014
OK This all sounds great but what are we DOING to get the girls home? I hope we are doing something covert.
Bruce P.
United States
May 19, 2014
Groups like Boko Haram were not a significant force until the U.S. installed Islamic militants as the new government of Libya, which was a tremendous boost to similar groups on the African continent.
Chris M.
United States
May 19, 2014
Consider a PR campaign to label Boko Haram as the new face of Al-Qaeda, and keep beating that drum every chance you get. If enough bad press comes of it, that is, from connecting Al-Qaeda to Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda's senior leadership just might take care of things themselves.
Cary G.
Guam, USA
May 24, 2014
The issues in Nigeria have been going on for some time now. UNODC and other international agencies and organizations have be focusing on anti-terrorism for many years now but real solutions always begin with the awareness and education on a specific thematic mission or cause. Its good to see State Department becoming more aware of the political and society issues in Nigeria. -Cary Lee Peterson, LL.D.


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