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Editorial: how many Christians need to b...

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Editorial: how many Christians need to be killed in Nigeria before Boko Haram are labelled terrorists?

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Editorial: how many Christians need to be killed in Nigeria before Boko Haram are labelled terrorists?

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria

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As an international groundswell builds against the deadly activities of Islamist militants Boko Haram in Nigeria, why do the Nigerian government and the US State Department remain resistant to labelling the group a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)?

A Barnabas trauma healing workshop for victims of anti-Christian violence
A Barnabas trauma healing workshop for victims of anti-Christian violence

Calls for the State Department to designate Boko Haram an FTO are intensifying as brutal attacks against Christians in the North show no signs of relenting. In the latest act of savagery, a group of suspected Boko Haram attackers went from house to house in the predominantly Christian part of the village of Chibok, Borno state, late on Saturday night (1 December). They set people’s houses on fire before slitting the throats of their victims, holding them upside down as when animals are slaughered; ten Christians were killed.

Later that night, gunmen killed five policemen as they attacked churches and government buildings in Gamboru Ngala, near the border with Cameroon. 

A Barnabas Aid contact in the Gwoza area, which lies further south along the border, said that numerous Christians had recently moved there, having been forced by Boko Haram to leave surrounding towns. The militants have now declared that Christians must leave Borno state altogether.

Boko Haram is intent on driving Christians out of Northern Nigeria; the group has issued a number of threats to this effect and is waging a targeted campaign of deadly violence against Christian communities.

Yet calls earlier this year from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and more than 20 American scholars for Boko Haram to be labelled a terrorist outfit largely fell on deaf ears in the US State Department, which in June named only three of the group’s leaders as foreign terrorists.

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