The United States of America, yesterday, designated three key leaders of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” in a bid to diminish the capacity of the Nigeria-based radical Islamic militant group to launch terror attacks that have killed over 1,000 people in less than two years.
The three individuals, an official said, are Abubakar Shekau, aged around 43, described as a Boko Haram leader who allegedly aligned himself with al Qaeda in a video message; Abubakar Adam Kambar, aged roughly 35; and Khalid al Barnawi, aged approximately 36. All three are native Nigerians.
The action is expected to result in the freezing of any assets they have in the United States, and bar US citizens from any transactions with them.
It would be recalled that the officials from the United States Justice Department had sent a letter to the State Department, arguing that the Nigerian group met the criteria for a “foreign terrorist” listing because it either engages in terrorism that threatens the United States or has a capacity or intent to do so.
This will be the first time since the repeated attacks in various parts of Northern Nigeria that such an international coloration has been painted of the Islamist extremist group
The Tide recalls that following the al Qaeda-pioneered terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, in which nearly 4,000 souls perished, the US has been waging war on terrorists across the globe.
In pursuit of that, the major master mind of the September 11 bombing, Osama bin Laden and many al Qaeda leaders and foot soldiers in several others countries, particularly Afghanistan, have either been killed or captured.
The implication of the labelling of three Boko Haram leaders as terrorist, The Tide confirms from security sources, is that the global coalition against international terrorism may have commenced plans for a crackdown.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is yet to react to the latest position of the US on the Boko Haram menace.