Nigeria’s National Security Adviser and Ambassador to the United States have both delivered messages to the US State Department urging them not to list Boko Haram as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
The US has been keen to expand its own intervention in oil-rich Nigeria, and has been playing up the “threat” posed to the international community by Boko Haram, and has committed itself to fighting the group.
Nigerian Defense Minister Bello Mohammed warned that the government is still trying to negotiate some sort of settlement and answer some of the faction’s grievances. He added that declaring them “terrorists” would not be helpful to those talks.
Mohammed went on to point out that Boko Haram isn’t operating in the US, and that they are an internal problem to Nigeria. The group has launched several major attacks inside Nigeria, but outside of unconfirmed rumors of operations in Azawad, the group does seem to be confined to Nigeria itself.
Boko Haram was founded in 2002 as an anti-education group, insisting that rain being condensation was “heretical” and arming itself entirely with weapons appropriate to the era in which the Quran was written, mostly bows and arrows and swords.
That group was eventually targeted by Nigeria’s military, which massacred a large number of them, including the original founder. After Nigeria claimed military victory, the group’s remnants reformed as a much more aggressive group, armed with modern weaponry.