Chairman Royce to Convene Hearing on Boko Haram Following Kidnappings of Girls and Killings in Nigeria

May 7, 2014

Urges Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel to Develop Approach to Better Assist Nigeria in Combating Boko Haram

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, announced that he will convene a hearing to examine the Administration’s response to the abhorrent and appalling kidnappings of hundreds of young Nigerian girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram.  Chairman Royce urged the Administration to develop a longer-term “strategic, multifaceted approach to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram.”

In the letter to Kerry and Hagel, Chairman Royce wrote:  “While I welcome the Administration’s efforts in response to the kidnapping, including offering a team of military and law enforcement officials to the Nigerian government, I believe this temporary response will not sufficiently combat Boko Haram’s long-term threat to the region and U.S. interests.  The Administration should develop a strategic, multifaceted approach to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram. An integral component of this strategy must include robust security assistance and intelligence sharing with Nigeria. The interagency framework should also stress regional security coordination, since the group’s cross-border activities have increased in recent years, particularly in Niger and Cameroon. It is clear that a piecemeal approach to Boko Haram, with limited U.S. military involvement, has been ineffective to date.”

Chairman Royce’s signed letter is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows: 

 

May 7, 2014

 

The Honorable John F. Kerry

Secretary of State

2201 C Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20520

 

The Honorable Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

 

Dear Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel:

The world has been appalled by the recent attacks and kidnappings conducted by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.  I am writing to urge the Administration in response to facilitate strong intelligence sharing and an advice-and-assist role for the U.S. military to work with Nigeria to combat Boko Haram.  Close cooperation among U.S. national security agencies would enable a rapid, robust and coordinated U.S. response to the abhorrent abduction of nearly 300 young girls from schoolhouses in northern Nigeria.  It should also facilitate the development of a long-term strategy to work with the Nigerian government to rid the region of the scourge of Boko Haram.

The Committee will soon hold a hearing on Boko Haram, to examine the Administration’s response to its many appalling acts.  As you know, this Committee, through hearings and other efforts, was integral in pushing a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation for al-Qaeda-affiliated Boko Haram. While I welcome the Administration’s efforts in response to the kidnapping, including offering a team of military and law enforcement officials to the Nigerian government, I believe this temporary response will not sufficiently combat Boko Haram’s long-term threat to the region and U.S. interests.   

The Administration should develop a strategic, multifaceted approach to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram. An integral component of this strategy must include robust security assistance and intelligence sharing with Nigeria. The interagency framework should also stress regional security coordination, since the group’s cross-border activities have increased in recent years, particularly in Niger and Cameroon. It is clear that a piecemeal approach to Boko Haram, with limited U.S. military involvement, has been ineffective to date.

While the world has awakened to the merciless and cowardly actions of Boko Haram, this terrorist group has long caused havoc for the communities in northern Nigeria, indiscriminately attacking state and civilian targets, including schools, churches, and mosques. Helpless women and children are trafficked by the group as a means of revenue. It has also conducted periodic attacks against local and international targets, including the kidnapping of foreigners and the attack on the U.N. building in Abuja. 

As you know, the Department of State and the Department of Defense have both acknowledged the threat posed by Boko Haram. The 2013 State Department Country Report on Terrorism cited Boko Haram for carrying out “kidnappings, killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria.” In 2013 alone, the terrorist group’s heinous acts have resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 civilians. In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, confirmed that Boko Haram is “a threat to Western interests” with their growing ties to the broader al-Qaeda network. In November 2013, after a lengthy policy deliberation within the Administration and significant congressional pressure, Boko Haram was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.  We know the problem.  A more aggressive U.S. commitment against al-Qaeda affiliated Boko Haram is overdue.

I appreciate your attention to this request for developing an interagency framework that includes strong military-to-military engagements and intelligence sharing with the Nigerian government, and look forward to working with you in the days and weeks ahead to combat this menace.

Sincerely,

 

EDWARD R. ROYCE

Chairman

 

 

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