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ICC Note:

Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey visited Nigeria the weekend of June 6 to meet with victims of Boko Haram. Addressing members of the press, Smith said, “The international community can and must play a robust supporting role especially in the area of intelligence and counterinsurgency training.” Smith is an outspoken member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs known for the pressure he placed on the Department of State to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Department did so in November of 2013.

06/08/2014 Nigeria (The Star-Ledger) – A New Jersey congressman visiting Nigeria this weekend called for more international support to help free hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by an Islamic extremist group in the West African country.

At a press conference on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) said Nigeria is ultimately responsible for securing the safe release of more than 200 girls who are still being held by Boko Haram.

But, Smith said, “The international community can and must play a robust supporting role especially in the area of intelligence and counterinsurgency training.”

Boko Haram, a group that wants to impose Islamic law in Nigeria, kidnapped nearly 300 girls in April in the town of Chibok. Nigeria’s government and military have faced sharp criticism for failing to free the girls.

Activists started using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter to help raise attention about the kidnapping. First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as other celebrities, posted photos of themselves holding signs with the phrase to raise support for the movement.

Smith said he met this week with victims of Boko Haram, including one of the roughly 50 girls who have so far managed to escape.

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