Washington is expected to announce Wednesday that Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadist group linked to thousands of deaths, has been designated a terrorist organization, the BBC reported
The addition of Boko Haram to the State Department list of foreign terror groups authorizes government agencies to block financial dealings with the group and bars Americans from providing material support to that organization.
U.S. officials have said Boko Haram, which targets Nigerian civilians and security forces, has ties to an al-Qaida affiliate in West Africa, and the United States has listed three reputed leaders of Boko Haram as terrorists.
But the Obama administration has until now refused to label the group a terrorist organization for fear that it would enhance its status with international jihadists, according to the BBC.
Nigerian Muslims deemed to be insufficiently pious and/or supportive of the Nigerian government have been targeted by Boko Haram. In August, gunmen believed connected to the group stormed a mosque in Konduga, a small town in northeastern Nigeria, and shot to death 44 people as they prayed.
The following day, a Boko Haram leader released a video taunting President Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and daring them to come after him, Time magazine reported
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