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ICC Note:
The U.S. government has announced that it is offering to pay a reward of $7 million for information leading to the capture of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Boko Haram has lead an insurgency in Nigeria’s northern states since 2009 and are attempting to carve out a separate Islamic state where the group can impose its radical interpretation of Sharia law. Christians living in northern Nigeria have been one of the group’s main targets for violent attacks. Churches have been destroyed and Christians have been murdered in the hundreds in northern Nigeria. Is this the beginning of the end for Boko Haram?
6/4/2013 Nigeria (Business Week) – The U.S. offered to pay a reward of as much as $7 million for information leading to the arrest of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamist group.
Shekau is among five alleged Islamist militants active in northern and western Africa for whom the U.S. is offering a total of $23 million for information leading to their capture, according to notices posted yesterday on the website of the Rewards for Justice program of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
“Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram’s operational capabilities have grown,” according to the bounty announcement. “There are reported communications, training, and weapons links between Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, has killed thousands in gun and bomb attacks across Nigeria’s north and Abuja, the capital, since 2009. The group says it wants Islamic rule in Africa’s top oil producer and most-populous country, which is almost evenly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.
Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack on a United Nations compound in Abuja in August 2011 which killed at least 25 people. The U.S. named Shekau a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” in June 2012.
President Goodluck Jonathan imposed emergency rule in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on May 14 to step up the fight against Islamist militants, whom he said were taking over parts of Borno. Nigeria’s military then began an air and ground offensive against Boko Haram destroying their camps and chasing their members and leaders in the area that borders Chad and Niger, according to the military.

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