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UN blacklists Boko Haram, imposes sanctions

By The Citizen
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The United Nations, on Thursday, blacklisted Boko Haram as an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group and imposed sanctions, a month after it kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

The designation, 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 automatically subjects Boko Haram to UN sanctions, including an arms embargo and asset freeze.

The group, which was created 10 years ago, wants to establish an Islamic state in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria. Its militants have killed several thousand people in a campaign of violence since 2009.

US envoy to the UN Samantha Power said it was 'an important step' in support of Nigeria's efforts 'to defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable for atrocities.'

'It is significant step,' Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu told reporters in anticipation of the move Wednesday. 'The important thing is to attack the problem and that is terrorism.'

Nigeria asked the Al-Qaeda sanctions committee to blacklist the armed Islamist group and impose sanctions.

It remains unclear whether sanctions will have any real impact on a group based in an area of Nigeria that operates on a cash economy.