UN blacklists Nigeria's Boko Haram, imposes sanctions

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The United Nations blacklisted and imposed sanctions on Boko Haram as an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group today, a month after it claimed the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls.

The designation, which was immediately welcomed by Britain and the United States, came into effect after no objections were raised by the Security Council's 15 members.

The move subjects Boko Haram to UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban.

The group, which was created 10 years ago, demands the creation of an Islamic state in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria. Their attacks have left thousands dead since 2009.

US ambassador Samantha Power hailed the move as "an important step" in support of Nigeria's efforts "to defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable for atrocities."

Nigeria, criticised by the United States for failing to react quickly enough to the rise of Boko Haram, had asked the Al-Qaeda sanctions committee to blacklist the group and impose sanctions.

"It is significant step," Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu told reporters in anticipation yesterday. "The important thing is to attack the problem and that is terrorism," she added.

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