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State Department designates Boko Haram, Ansaru as terrorists

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Nigerian group Boko Haram and Ansaru, a splinter group, have been designated terrorist organizations, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.

In a release, the department said Boko Haram has ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the al-Qaida affiliate in northern Africa, and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. Ansaru, which split off from Boko Haram, is believed to be responsible for kidnapping and killing seven construction workers from outside Nigeria earlier this year.

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"These designations are an important and appropriate step, but only one tool in what must be a comprehensive approach by the Nigerian government to counter these groups through a combination of law enforcement, political, and development efforts, as well as military engagement, to help root out violent extremism while also addressing the legitimate concerns of the people of northern Nigeria," the department said.

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