By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)– The violent Islamist group Boko Haram and its splinter cell, Ansaru, have finally been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the United States.
Last week the State Department announced sanctions against both Islamist groups, which have been waging a relentless campaign of sectarian violence in Northern Nigeria, according to International Christian Concern.
Although the FTO designation will enable U.S. law enforcement to better deprive these terror orgs of their financial support networks, Nigeria expert Emmanuel Ogebe said the U.S. can do even more to assist Nigeria in combating the threats posed by Boko Haram.
In his congressional testimony, Ogebe accused the U.S. State Department of denying the religious motivations of Boko Haram — despite its declared goal of establishing an Islamist theocracy in Nigeria — and of downplaying the fact that Haram has attacked U.S. citizens.
Still, the FTO designations were seen as a victory for human rights groups, notably ICC.
Cameron Thomas, ICC's Africa Regional Manager, said the designations of Boko Haram and Ansaru as FTOs is a long-overdue step in stopping the religious cleansing of Christians in Nigeria.
"However, much more remains to be done if the Obama administration is truly serious about ending the 'religicide' there," said Thomas. "We applaud this proclamation, but will continue to advocate for further action."