At the Nov. 13 joint hearing by the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, the Obama Administration announced its long-awaited decision to designate the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram and its breakaway faction known as Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. This designation was the subject of H.R. 3209, introduced by Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04) of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations in September. He has been joined as co-sponsors by Reps. Patrick Meehan, Ted Poe and Randy Weber.
Chairman Smith led a Congressional delegation to Nigeria in September to examine the Boko Haram threat. “I saw numerous victims of Boko Haram, who told my delegation of the horrific violence these terrorists have used on Christians and Muslims in pursuit of a perverted version of Islam,” Smith said. “What these murderers have brought to Nigeria and surrounding countries is misery and death.” (click here to read Chairman's statement)
One of Boko Haram’s victims, Habila Adamu of Yobe State, presented testimony at today’s hearing on his chilling encounter with Islamist terrorist. Adamu said he was challenged to renounce his Christian faith, but when he refused to do so, he was shot in the head and left for dead. He was the only adult male Christian survivor of that attack.
“Mr. Adamu’s testimony on the one hand is a terrifying example of the ruthlessness of Boko Haram, but on the other hand, it is one of the most inspiring examples of faith I have ever heard,” Smith said.
“Then they asked me, ‘Habila, are you ready to die as a Christian?’” Adamu told the panel. “I told them ‘I am ready to die as a Christian.’ For the second time, they asked me, “Are you ready to die as a Christian?” and I told them, “I am ready,” but before I closed my mouth, they have fired me through my noise (the entering point) and the bullet came out through the back. I fell on the ground. The gunmen thought I was already dead because they stomped on me two times and discovered I was dead, and cried out ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is Great).” Click here to read Mr. Adamu’s powerful testimony about his story of survival.
In her testimony announcing the Administration’s Foreign Terrorist Organization designation, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, said the action will provide U.S. law enforcement and the U.S. Treasury Department additional tools with which to investigate and prosecute those who provide financing and other assistance to Boko Haram and Ansaru. She added that the Administration intended to continue and expand its efforts to provide training and other assistance to the Nigerian military and security forces to combat the terrorist threat in that country.
The Smith Congressional delegation was told that Boko Haram and Ansaru have numerous weapons, uniforms and explosives, and while much of their support is from foreign sources, there are domestic Nigerian supporters of their activities. This year alone, 53 Christian churches have been attacked, and 216 people were murdered by terrorists in them.
Also testifying at the Nov. 13 joint congressional hearing of both the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, and the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade were:
Emmanuel Ogebe, Managing Partner, U.S.-Nigeria Law Group
- Khalid Aliyu, Secretary General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (planned to be submitted for record)
- Habila Adamu, survivor of violence by Boko Haram
- Jacob Zenn, Research Analyst, The Jamestown Foundation
- Dr. Guy Nkem Nzeribe, Ph.D, Partner, Guy Nzeribe Associates
Click here to read or listen to the testimony.