Lagos — THE United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary: Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Jackson, reiterated his country's support for calls to the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Boko Haram sect.
"We continue to work with Nigeria and others to press for UN Security Council sanctions on Boko Haram," he said in Washington.
He said his country had also joined the international effort to isolate the Boko Haram.
In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram's top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224.
In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram's official leader, to US' Rewards for Justice Programme and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his location.
In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224.
Last week, US' Ambassador met President Goodluck Jonathan on the margins of the World Economic Forum, and they agreed on the importance of quick action on the UN designation of Boko Haram as a terrorist group.
The UN Security Council has renewed calls for regional cooperation to address Boko Haram.
Earlier this week, Nigeria brought the question to the UN Security Council.
The developments follow the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno State last month.
"As the President has directed, we will do everything possible to support the Nigerians in their efforts to find and free these girls. But we won't stop there. We can and must continue to work closely with Nigeria to prevent Boko Haram from harming any more innocent people," Jackson said.
The US government has deployed an 18-member interagency team to provide military and law enforcement assistance as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.
It has provided commercial imagery and are flying manned and unmanned ISR aircraft over Nigeria to support the search.
It is working closely with international partners on the ground, including the UK and France.
"Given Nigeria's importance, Boko Haram cannot be allowed to continue its array of bloody tactics: murdering police officers, snatching children, destroying churches, burning schools, attacking mosques, driving people from their homes, and challenging the government's authority."