Meehan, King said U.S. needs to take Boko Haram more seriously

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Penn.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) wrote letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week to call for a “comprehensive strategy” to combat the growing threat from West African terrorist group Boko Haram.

“We write to you today with grave concerns about the escalation in violence by Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group active in West Africa and an officially designated foreign terrorist organization,” the letters said. “As you know, Boko Haram has become increasingly aggressive and lethal in recent months.”

The letter reviewed several of the group’s recent terrorist activities, including the abduction of 200 Nigerian women, the massacre of over 2,000 villagers from northern Nigeria, and the recent suicide bombing in northern Nigeria that utilized young girls strapped with bombs.

“It is clear that the United States needs a comprehensive strategy to address Boko Haram’s growing lethality,” Meehan, chairman of the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, and King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in the letters.

Two years ago, King led a hearing on Boko Haram and the threat that exists from the organization’s rise. From that hearing came the bipartisan report “Boko Haram — Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” which detailed the group’s deadly history.

The State Department then gave Boko Haram the “foreign terrorist organization” designation after Meehan and King urged the action.