Boko Haram Becoming Stronger, 'More Brutal' due to ISIS Connection; Posing Potential Threat to U.S.

( [email protected] ) Sep 17, 2014 01:24 PM EDT
Boko Haram
Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram continues its reign of terror in the African country

Nigerian terror group Boko Haram is strengthening and growing increasingly violent due to its growing connection with ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, the Executive Director of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans recently stated.

Pastor Laolu Akande recently urged President Barack Obama to add Boko Haram to the U.S.'s global anti-terror strategy, arguing that the terrorist group is "gathering a greater boldness in their brutality" as ISIS continues to give advice to Boko Haram on establishing an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria.

"[Boko Haram] is very brutal already, but connecting and communicating with ISIS is going to give them more brutality. They might actually become stronger," Akande told the Christian Post. "This is what we don't want to happen."

Innumerable Christian and moderate Muslims are reportedly fleeing parts of Nigeria, where Boko Haram has invaded multiple towns in an attempt to establish a nationwide caliphate.

"Boko Haram is hacking at the roots of local governance in northeast Nigeria in an attempt to plant their brutal interpretation of Islamic law," one U.S. official told NBC News on Friday. "In the process they are devastating local communities and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation present in Borno State."

Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, social communications officer in the archdiocese of Abuja, said in an interview last week that "several churches are in ruins and tens of thousands, mainly Christians, are running to escape Boko Haram."

"Boko Haram is determined to eliminate every sign of Christian presence and many churches have been destroyed or torched. Last week in a village in the area of Maiduguri, Boko Haram took over the parish for its local headquarters," Alumuku added.

The Nigeria Security Network has also warned that Nigeria could be facing "a rapid takeover of a large area of its territory reminiscent of ISIS's lightning advances in Iraq."

Akande said that CANAN has written Obama a letter explaining that terror groups have global connections, and urging the American president to "include Boko Haram in his global strategy against ISIS that was initiated last week" as the Nigerian terror group is also "a threat to American interests."

"The U.S. congress about two years ago determined that Boko Haram is a threat to American national security," the CANAN executive director said, and noted that the U.S. State Department eventually designated Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.

"President Barack Obama will need to include other terrorist groups like Boko Haram, Hamas and Hezbollah" in the anti-terror strategy, he added.

"This group is targeting Americans, as they are targeting Nigerians, as they are targeting any westerner they can find. So it is important for us, as Americans, to insist that the U.S. president must include Boko Haram in his global strategy against ISIS."

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, visited the Nigerian capital of Abuja last week for a meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria bilateral working group, also said the United States Government should put all pride aside and take the Boko Haram threat more seriously.

"Since our last meeting in August 2013, the frequency and scope of Boko Haram's terror attack have grown more acute and constitute a serious threat to this country's overall security," she told NBC. "Boko Haram has shown that it can operate not only in the northeast but elsewhere in the country."

"This is a sober reality check for all of us. We are past time for denial and pride."