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United Nations blacklists Boko Haram as terror group.

                                                                                                                                                                    The  United Nations blacklisted and imposed sanctions on Boko Haram as an  Al-Qaeda-linked terror group Thursday, a month after it claimed the  kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls.
The designation,  which was immediately welcomed by Britain and the United States, came  into effect after no objections were raised by the Security Council’s 15  members.
The move subjects Boko Haram to UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban.
The  group, which was created 10 years ago, demands the creation of an  Islamic state in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria. Their attacks have left  thousands dead since 2009.

US ambassador Samantha Power hailed  the move as “an important step” in support of Nigeria’s efforts “to  defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable for  atrocities.”
Nigeria, criticised by the United States for failing  to react quickly enough to the rise of Boko Haram, had asked the  Al-Qaeda sanctions committee to blacklist the group and impose  sanctions.
“It is significant step,” Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu  told reporters in anticipation on Wednesday. “The important thing is to  attack the problem and that is terrorism,” she added.

- Sanctions skepticism -
Experts  question whether sanctions will have any real impact on a group based  in a part of Nigeria that operates on a cash economy.
Boko Haram  claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in mid-April of more than 200  schoolgirls in Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria which sparked  international outrage.
The imposition of UN sanctions was  recommended last Saturday at a conference in Paris that brought together  Benin, Britain, Chad, Cameroon, France Niger, Nigeria and the United  States.
The United States and a number of other countries have  already designated Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation in an attempt  to cut off any overseas funding for the group.
Power said the  United States would continue doing everything possible to help bring  back the kidnapped schoolgirls and to work with the government of  Nigeria to eliminate Boko Haram.

“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 in  a statement.
In the last five weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up  attacks outside the northeast, worst affected by the insurgency, leading  to fears of an escalation of violence across the country.
Hours  before the girls’ kidnapping, the group bombed a crowded bus station in  the Abuja suburb of Nyanya, killing 75. A copy-cat bombing at the same  location on May 1 left 19 dead.
On Tuesday, two car bombs ripped  through a busy market within 20 minutes of each other in the central  city of Jos, killing at least 118, in Nigeria’s deadliest such attack.

Nigeria has concentrated on a mainly military response to Boko Haram.
More  than 2,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed this year  alone as a result of the violence and the military’s response, according  to human rights and monitoring groups.
Critics have called into  question the military’s reliance on conventional tactics to fight an  enemy waging a guerrilla war and urged “soft power” strategies to be  used at the same time.


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