Boko Haram's Next Target: an American One?

US intelligence officials suspect they may be planning something
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2014 10:15 AM CDT
Boko Haram's Next Target: an American One?
In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.    (AP Photo)

Boko Haram may be planning an attack on US interests in Nigeria, US intelligence officials tell NBC News. The evidence of this is "fragmentary" and lacks specifics, the sources admit, but counterterror officials are sufficiently worried to the point that they're stepping up efforts to locate the group's military assets and trying to determine who sits at the top with frontman Abubakar Shekau—who already has a $7 million bounty on his head. "Boko Haram has a long standing interest in this," one senior official said. But officials think that interest has intensified as the US steps up its role in hunting for the kidnapped school girls.

Of course, there are precious few US targets in Nigeria's northeast, where Boko Haram is strongest, but there are some in the capital of Abuja. Boko Haram has been blamed for two bombings in Abuja in the past five weeks, according to CNN, amidst a wave of violence that has grew especially intense this week with the massive Jos bombing. The UN yesterday officially blacklisted Boko Haram—a step Nigeria's government had refrained from requesting until now—which will make the group's members subject to asset freezes, travel bans, and arms embargoes, al-Jazeera reports. (Read more Boko Haram stories.)

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