US gov’t adds 3 Nigerians, 1 Basque to terrorism list


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday named three leaders of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram and a Basque separatist commander to the U.S. terrorism list.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described Boko Haram leaders Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi as “kingpins” of the radical Islamist group that claimed responsibility for last year’s deadly attack against a U.N. building in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.

The department called Shekau the group’s “most visible” leader. It said Kambar and al-Barnawi have forged close ties with al-Qaida.

Designating these men as global terrorists blocks any assets the men may have in the U.S. and bars Americans from doing business with them. The administration also added Aitzol Iriondo to the list for alleged involvement in killings on behalf of the Basque group ETA, which has long sought a homeland in parts of Spain and France. The group is already considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.

The U.S. has yet to issue a blanket terrorism designation against Boko Haram, however. The group claimed responsibility on Thursday for launching multiple attacks in Nigeria.