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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Waters Urges President Obama to Take Action to Stop the Slaughter of Civilians by Boko Haram

January 29, 2015
Press Release

Congresswoman Waters Urges President Obama to Take Action to Stop the Slaughter of Civilians by Boko Haram


Compares the Situation in Nigeria to the Rwandan Genocide


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to President Obama yesterday urging him to take immediate action to stop the slaughter of civilians in Nigeria by Boko Haram.  The text of the letter follows:


It is with a great deal of concern for the many serious foreign policy issues that you are currently managing that I gave considerable thought before writing to you about yet another serious crisis taking place in another part of the globe. However, I ultimately concluded that I can no longer remain silent as I witness the carnage, killings and devastation taking place in Nigeria.  Unfortunately, the Nigerian government has not demonstrated its ability to manage the challenges facing its armed forces and stop the outrageous terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.


I am outraged by Boko Haram's horrific acts of terrorism.  Earlier this month, Boko Haram raided and overtook the city of Baga in the Borno region of Nigeria.  It has been estimated that at least 150 and potentially 2,000 people were murdered and more than 30,000 people were displaced over several days of violent attacks.  In November, Boko Haram mercilessly attacked the central mosque in Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city, killing more than 120 people and wounding almost 400.  In April of last year, Boko Haram kidnapped about 270 innocent schoolgirls from their boarding school in Borno.  While a few of these girls subsequently escaped, more than 250 are still missing, and their families are desperately hoping for their safe return.


These are just a few of the appalling attacks committed by this terrorist group.  Boko Haram has targeted schools, churches, mosques, markets, bus stations, banks, government facilities, and other locations.  The group has also been known to use women and children as suicide bombers.  According to the U.S. State Department, since 2009, more than 900,000 people have been displaced within Nigeria's borders because of Boko Haram, and more than 200,000 people have been forced to flee to the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.  By some estimates, Boko Haram murdered more than 5,500 people in all of 2014 and more than 9,000 people over the past five years.


The failure of the international community to organize an effective response to these attacks reminds me of the genocide in Rwanda, during which up to one million people were murdered over a three-month period while the international community looked the other way.  We cannot turn a blind eye and once again allow innocent children, women and men to be ruthlessly kidnapped and slaughtered by Boko Haram.


It is imperative that the United States respond to Boko Haram with urgency and resolve.  We must do everything within our power to unite the international community and take immediate action to stop the slaughter of civilians by Boko Haram.  We cannot turn a blind eye to the tragedy that is unfolding in Nigeria.