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UN committee imposes sanctions on Nigeria's Boko Haram

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It will now be added to a list of al-Qaeda-linked organisations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze.

US envoy Samantha Power said it was an "important step" in support of efforts to "defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable".

Analysts say it is hard to say what practical effect the move will have.

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Boko Haram are engaging in bank robberies, they are taking money for ransom, they don't have those kind of assets that you can go after”

Omoyele SoworeSahara Reporters

"Boko Haram commanders and their leaders do not travel with passports, they travel on the ground in hijacked vehicles; they don't have any formal assets that anyone can point to - it is not a formal organisation," Omoyele Sowore of Nigeria's citizen journalism website Sahara Reporters told the BBC.

Boko Haram was earlier blamed for the deaths of 27 people in a north-eastern village on Wednesday, a day after twin bombings killed 122 in the central city of Jos. The authorities suspect Boko Haram of being behind them, but there has so far been no claim of responsibility from the group.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is due to travel to South Africa for discussions with other African heads of state on combating terrorism in Africa following on from last weekend's summit hosted by France.

Who are Boko Haram?

• Founded in 2002

• Initially focused on opposing Western education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language

• Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state

• Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja

• Some three million people affected

• Declared terrorist group by US in 2013

Who are Boko Haram?

Profile: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Why Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram

Earlier President Jonathan's Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, said African presidents should take responsibility for their failures and resolve their own conflicts.

"I find that our leaders, who should have been working together all along to address these problems that only affect their countries, wait until they are invited to go to Europe. Why does anybody wait for that? What image does it even give about Africa?" he said.

'Al-Qaeda training'

Boko Haram was added to the UN Security Council's al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee's list of designated entities on Thursday at the request of Nigeria.

The sanctions designation would help "close off important avenues of funding, travel and weapons" to the group, Ms Power said.

On Wednesday, Nigeria's permanent representative, Joy Ogwu, said: "The important thing is to attack the problem, and that is terrorism."

The BBC's Barbara Plett Usher in New York says Boko Haram's links with al-Qaeda have come under scrutiny.

Reports quoting a draft UN document said its members had received training from al-Qaeda affiliates and fought alongside them in Mali.

But Mr Sowore said he regarded the UN's move as merely "symbolic".

"I'm trying to be very nice using the word symbolic otherwise I would have called it ridiculous," he told the BBC's Newsday programme.

"One of the things that was interesting about al-Qaeda was that Osama bin Laden and his colleagues were multi-millionaires; they had rogue states like Afghanistan behind them. Those kind of assets can be traced and frozen; but Boko Haram are engaging in bank robberies, they are taking money for ransom, they don't have those kind of assets that you can go after."

Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in Nigeria through a wave of bombings and assassinations since 2009, is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

The government's failure to prevent attacks since launching an offensive against Boko Haram a year ago has triggered widespread anger, especially since the kidnapping of the schoolgirls.

A statement from President Jonathan read out to the demonstrators in the capital, Abuja, on Thursday said the state was doing all it could to secure their release.

He also urged them to ensure their "zeal is matched with a realistic understanding of the situation".

The statement did little to placate the crowd, and one protester shouted: "Another small window for Jonathan and he refuses to use it."


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