Republican Congressman Visits Victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ)

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ)

Republican Congressman Chris Smith (NJ) visited Nigeria over the weekend calling for more international support to free the hundreds of girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram. reported:

A New Jersey congressman visiting Nigeria this weekend called for more international support to help free hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by an Islamic extremist group in the West African country.

At a press conference on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) said Nigeria is ultimately responsible for securing the safe release of more than 200 girls who are still being held by Boko Haram.

But, Smith said, “The international community can and must play a robust supporting role especially in the area of intelligence and counterinsurgency training.”

Congressman Smith also met with the victims of Boko Haram:

Smith said he met this week with victims of Boko Haram, including one of the roughly 50 girls who have so far managed to escape.

“This brave young woman has suffered much — was clearly traumatized and in emotional pain,” Smith said at the news conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capita, according to written excerpts of his remarks. “You could hear it in her voice, see it in her eyes — as she sat motionless recounting her story. Yet she spoke of her concern not for herself, but her friends and classmates who remain in captivity.”

The Obama administration last year designated Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization, saying the militant group was “conducting an ongoing and brutal campaign against Nigerian military, government and civilian targets.”

Smith, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, said the administration should use its expanded authority under that designation to work more closely with the Nigerian government.

Congressman Smith’s website has more on his trip to Nigeria here.

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