“We must not forget the girls of Nigeria, who were
targeted for violence simply because they chose to pursue an education.”
WASHINGTON D.C.— More than one year since the horrific kidnapping of the 276 school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram—and a few days after Boko Haram likely executed bomb attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least 59 people and wounded 60 and two female suicide bombers in Cameroon killed at least 13 people—U.S. Senator Susan Collins continued her leadership in the fight against this terrorist organization and introduced a bipartisan bill to bolster efforts to combat its spread. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today and now awaits consideration by the full Senate. Boko Haram continues to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria as well as in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, and Boko Haram recently pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“We cannot not sit idly by while Boko Haram continues to terrorize women, girls, and religious minorities in Nigeria,” Senator Collins stated. “By definition, Boko Haram means Western education is forbidden. We must never forget that the girls of Nigeria were targeted simply because they chose to pursue an education.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, in total, Boko Haram may have killed more than 11,000 people, with more than 5,500 people killed in 2014 alone. The legislation adopted today requires the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense to jointly develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy to combat the terrorist group focused on building institutional capacity, humanitarian support, and rule of law programs. The measure also requires the Administration to identify the resources required to implement the strategy.
“This bipartisan legislation would signal a renewed congressional commitment to pursuing Boko Haram and bolster U.S. efforts throughout the region. The already dire situation there will continue to worsen if the current trajectory is not significantly altered,” Senator Collins continued. “With the recent election of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s new president and his stated commitment to battling Boko Haram, there is a window of opportunity to change the course of the fight against this intensifying terrorist threat and send a message to women and girls around the world that these appalling acts of violence will not be tolerated.”
Last year, in response to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the 276 school girls in Nigeria, Senator Collins, joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), led all twenty women Senators in urging Secretary Kerry to seek Boko Haram’s addition to the United Nation’s al-Qaeda Sanctions List. Following this letter, the United Nations Security Council voted to subject Boko Haram to a complete asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.
Co-sponsors include fifteen Senators: Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (R-WA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).