Time For the EU To Designate Boko Haram a Terrorist Group

Boko Haram Militants (Source: Il Referendum)

In 2013, Boko Haram killed - from May onwards - 1,224 people. This year, it has already killed 500 people. This group has been stepping up its operational capabilities and, thus, becoming increasingly more lethal.
The United States have designated this group as a terrorist organisation (FTO), last November; however the European Union hasn't - why?

The EU defines terrorism as "acts which aim to intimidate populations, compel states to comply with the perpetrators' demand and/or destabilise the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or a international organisation."
A group that fulfils the criteria, and yet is not included in the EU list, is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad - translated into "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad" (a.k.a Boko Haram which, in Hausa, means "Western education is a sin").

Boko Haram (BH), a Nigerian-based group, started its operations (as a Jihadist organisation) in 2009. According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), from its inception until 2012 the group has authored 579 terrorist attacks. The organisation's main targets are: private citizens/property, Government objects, religious figures/institutions, education institutions and military. Its attack type of preference is armed assault (320 incidents), bombing/explosions (205 incidents), facility/infrastructure attacks (89 incidents) and assassinations (22 incidents); meaning that their weapons of choice are firearms, explosives/bombs/dynamite and incendiary devices.

The most notorious BH attacks are the August 2011 suicide bombing of a UN building, in Abuja (killing 23 people and injured 76); the December 2012 attacks against  the Church of Christ in Nations, in Peri village near Potiskum (killing 6 people) and against the First Baptist Church, in Maiduguri - in Borno state (killing also 6 people); the September 2013 college dorm attack at the College of Agriculture, in Gujba, in the Yobe state (killing 40 sleeping students); and the March 2014 weekend of slaughter that resulted in the death of 90 people.
These incidents mirror BH's stated goals to obliterate the Western influence and education from Nigeria and to establish an Islamic State, based on Sharia Law.

There can't be any doubt regarding the terrorist nature of Boko Haram, which presents the following ingredients:

  • It is religiously inspired, as it "evokes religion to justify their actions"[in EU terrorism situation and trend report] (its members are influenced by the Quranic words: "Those who do not rule in accordance with Allah's revelations are the disbelievers" - Sura 5:44) and uses tactics employed by Religiously Inspired Terrorist groups (such as suicide bombings, attacks with IEDs and kidnapping). 
  • It makes systematic use of violence, and destruction, as a means to push the state to comply with its demands. 
  • It views itself as altruistic (i.e. Boko Haram's actions are intended to protect pious Muslims and contribute to a higher purpose: the establishment of an Islamic State in Nigeria and surrounding region).
  • The group is motivated by ideology (i.e. Islam). 

Boko Haram is both a regional and international threat inasmuch as their activities are spilling over to Chad, Niger, Cameroon; it kidnaps foreign citizens both in Nigeria and Cameroon; it is a threat to the European, and international, energetic interests in Nigeria because the group engages in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (to finance its activities while at the same time disrupting the flow of oil into the West); and it maintains close ties with Al-Qaeda (and affiliates) to receive training and cooperate on a Global level.
As Rubén Ruiz Calleja wrote "the European Union must take into [serious] consideration the threat of Boko Haram, not only as a current threat for the security of Nigeria and its neighbouring countries, but also as a potential risk for the European security. If BH tries to destabilize the country, with the economic relations that this fact would imply, there would be consequences for the European Union."

Therefore Boko Haram should be included in the EU List, based on the Common Position 2001/931/CFSP, as a group that commits terrorist acts, since in Article 1(3) it basically states that terrorist acts (i.e. attacks causing death to people, or hurting their physical integrity; kidnapping; extensive destruction to government facilities, transportation system and infrastructures; seizure of ships; manufacture, possession, acquisition, supply or use of weapons, explosives, or CBN weapons; participation in activities of terrorist groups, supplying information, funding or other resources) seriously "damage a country or international organisation".

Putting BH in the EU list is fundamental to foment "investigations or prosecution for a terrorist act"[in here]. Finally, by listing Boko Haram as a terrorist group, counter-terrorism entities will feel compelled to look even closer at the group to gather a list of members, suspected members, facilitators, foreign donors, associates and, thus, monitor the flow of funds and travelling habits of BH elements and collaborators, so that they proceed to the disruption of their ever increasing capability to sustain a terrorist campaign.

So, what is the EU waiting for?

[This article was written by +Cristina Caravaggio Giancchini and adapted by +Max Coutinho]


  1. The EU should list them as a terrorist group, I mean what are they waiting for, for the death of another 1,000 people? It is despicable!
    Anyway, thought of the week: I agree with you, Bibi should adopt the Levy report and end this stupid dance. We have been dancing it for over 65 years, how much dancing can we get? I was expecting him to say something at the AIPAC and what did he do? Nothing...again. So disappointing.

    1. Hey Carl :D!

      In this case, I don't understand what is preventing the EU to move faster (especially when the EU has high interests in the region as well). But if the WWII, Rwanda and Syria taught us anything is that the number of dead people is not always a factor for political action...unfortunately.

      I have stopped waiting for PM Netanyahu to say whatsoever in international fora. I like him a lot but his resistance to say what people advise him to say is turning me off a bit...politicians are reluctant to change.

      Carl, thank you so much for your comment, my friend :D.


  2. Finally Max! You published Cristina's work! I always enjoyed that you listen to your readers :-)
    The EU is always the last western entity to designate groups as terrorist organisations, or at least so it seems. The UK has done it already given the huge Nigerian community within its borders; but I am wondering whether the EU didn't do it so far because Arab lobbies paid them not to or to tender to other "pressing" affairs?
    But as Cristina so well put, it should because it will eventually bite us in the ass too.
    Congratulations, Cristina and Max, for a job well done! Let's hope they listen to you guys.

    1. Hi Celeste :D!

      She finally agreed to let me publish it, so yeah :). Why, thank you *bowing*.
      The Arab lobby...maybe, who knows, right? Food for thought.
      LOL indeed. You know my latest moto: what happens in Africa, does not stay in Africa any longer.
      Thank you, my darling *bowing*. We are crossing our fingers... ;)

      Celeste, thank you ever so much for your comment, darling.


  3. Kol Hakavod, Max and Cristina! It was about time somebody would talk about this. I have Googled the title and no one discussed this on the web, they only spoke of how the US FTOed Boko Haram.
    BH has been stepping up their game and becoming more lethal by the minute. Now they rampage villages by the hundreds and kill everybody on sight. For the last couple of weekends they have been shedding blood like I have never seen before (first weekend 90, second weekend 100 dead people). It is time for the world to tackle these guys!
    Thought of the week: Bibi better do the right thing now.

    1. Hi Joseph :D!

      Todah rabah, Joe *bowing*. I think there is one paper discussing this same issue but that is it. The EU is always lagging in these issues.
      I agree with you: they are becoming increasingly lethal and more vicious too. Yes, it is time to tackle them and I am sure that with the right support they will.
      On thought of the week: agreed.

      Joe, thank you so much for your comment, mate :D.


  4. First of all, כל הכבוד to Cristina! It was about time that we saw her work in here.
    Second, the EU is a joke! Those socialists that are sitting there, seriously...scratching their balls all day and for what? For finding ways to piss Israel off. But when it comes to do a real job like making the life of these terrorists a living hell, they say "We need to study this first"...please!
    Boko Haram is dangerous not only for Nigeria but for the whole African continent. They already have ties with Al-Shabaab, AQIM and Hezbollah and they are suspected of being financed by Iran. It's a mess! What's next?

    1. Hi Ana :D!

      Yes, Cristina deserves it.
      lol lol oh come on, they are busy with Crimea now...but you have a point regarding their obsession with Israel, it is sick.
      The need to study things first is typical leftist behaviour (after the independence wars in Africa, the leftists governments said the same bloody thing).
      You got a point: BH's connections are dangerous and forewarn of a bigger Islamist operation in the African continent.

      Ana, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  5. EU has no connection with the countries where BH operates. France and the UK are the only ones with serious connections to the African continent and they are indeed very much wanting to declare BH as a terrorist organisation or at least that is what I am told by my contacts in the UK.

    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      I think your contacts in the UK misled you for some reason, because the EU has huge trade deals (we are talking about billions of euros) with the countries where the BH operates (except CAR maybe); not to mention the aid packages that support their human and economic development (and here we are talking about millions of euros) - it is a lot of EU money.
      Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, UK (the country that least buys oil from Nigeria, for instance), Italy, Portugal etc they all have energetic interests in the region; so I wonder what your contacts were talking about exactly (this info is available on the web for everybody to see).

      The UK has already designated BH as a terrorist organisation.

      Rummy, thank you so much for your comment, my friend :D.


  6. I must disagree with Mr Rummuser: the EU has huge interests in Nigeria and in West Africa in general (with whom it just recently signed a €42 billion per year trade agreement). Boko Haram operates in Nigeria mainly and Nigeria is very important to the Union:

    “The EU imports 33 billion euros of goods from Nigeria; we exported in 2012 11.4 billion euro goods to Nigeria,” he said. “We have the biggest stock of investment built up over many years in Nigeria and many EU investors are still keen to come and invest in the country.

    “We also remain a significant development partner and have just agreed that over the next seven years we will contribute 500 million euros in development systems to Nigeria.’’


    Are we going to commit all that money to Nigeria and let Boko Haram destabilise our investments there? I don't think so! So yeah, it is urgent that the EU designates Boko Haram a terrorist group.
    They also operate in the Gulf of Guinea, why does Mr Rummuser think America listed them as an FTO? And Europe also uses the Gulf of course....

    1. After you do that what? Will you go after them like the USA did in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the Al Quida and the Taliban?

    2. Hi Pietr :D!

      Thanks for the link (it contains vital information).
      I agree with you that Nigeria, and surrounding region, is increasingly becoming important to the EU. The US has already recognised its strategic importance and that is why AFRICOM is having a crucial role in the African continent and the reason why America FTOed BH.

      Rummy (how I call Rummuser) asked an interesting question: what do you do after designating them a terror group?
      Shall you answer or shall I?

      Pietr, thank you so much for your comment :D.


    3. Rummuser, after the designation counter-terrorism agents have more power to go after the networks that feed these terrorist groups. No need to put men on the ground but there is the need to tackle what feeds them. The author of this article said it better:

      "by listing Boko Haram as a terrorist group, counter-terrorism entities will feel compelled to look even closer at the group to gather a list of members, suspected members, facilitators, foreign donors, associates and, thus, monitor the flow of funds and travelling habits of BH elements and collaborators, so that they proceed to the disruption of their ever increasing capability to sustain a terrorist campaign."

  7. Congratulations, Cristina & Max. Let's see if the EU will hearken to you guys ;-).

    1. Hi Mike :D!

      Thank you *bowing*. We are crossing our fingers, let's see...


  8. I'd like to thank everyone for having read and commented on my piece. I appreciated it.
    Ana, Celeste, Joseph, Michael: thanks for the mention.
    All the best!

    1. Hey Cristina :D!

      I am so glad to see you here, girl!
      You are so welcome: it was a pleasure to have your work published here (and for that I thank you)! :D


  9. “As the Nigerian military battles Boko Haram in the northeast, its government said militants are finding safe havens in neighboring countries and then mounting cross-border attacks into Nigeria. Nigeria’s neighbors are faced with a difficult question: How do they crack down on this trend without also making themselves targets of attack?"

    1. Hey Anonymous :D!

      I know that site very well (its author has collaborated with us): thank you for the link :D.
      As the article and this quote indicates, BH is becoming a transnational problem that needs to be tackled with maximum urgency.

      Thanks, Anon, for your comment :D.



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