Today, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) joined four of her House colleagues in sending a letter to the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, regarding the recent terrorist activity of Boko Haram, a group based in northern Nigeria. In addition to Bachmann, members on the letter are Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04), Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) and Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-08). The letter to President Jonathan reads as follows:
We write to express our grave concerns about the ongoing insurgency by Boko Haram, the Nigerian based terrorist organization that has killed an estimated 510 people in 2011 and as many as 160 this past January. While Boko Haram is largely based in northern Nigeria, we believe that a push south through Jos, could threaten your capital of Abuja, thereby destabilizing your country and potentially the region as a whole. We respect Nigeria's sovereign right to conduct her own internal affairs, however; we see the wisdom of supporting decisive action. We believe that developing a comprehensive strategy of rooting out corruption at the highest levels of the Nigerian government, implementing economic development plans for your northern citizens, respecting the rule of law, and formulating counterterrorism measures that compliment the increase in security funding, would be excellent steps to address the insurgency.
A recent report by the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security outlined the evolution of Boko Haram. Formed in the mid-2000s, this terrorist organization has gone from utilizing archaic weapons to the more sophisticated car bombings and targeted attacks. The report further states, "Boko Haram are being trained by Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). They are also believed to have ties to the Somalian militant group al Shabaab." While there is little evidence that Boko Haram has reached the sophistication of Al Qaeda, we learned after the attacks on our homeland on September 11, 2001 that one must never underestimate the capabilities of those who use violence to perpetuate an ideology.
We certainly recognize that aggressively targeting an insurgency is difficult, especially one like Boko Haram, that has done nothing but grow in strength in recent years. However, any alternative gives Boko Haram time to recruit new converts and develop even more deadly strategies. Your Administration can stem the tide of violence that persists in your country but the window of opportunity is closing.
The United States and Nigeria enjoy a strong economic cooperation and a national security partnership. We look forward to this relationship continuing and appreciate your attention to this important matter.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)
Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04)
Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-08)