NAIROBI, Kenya — Boko Haram is making a forceful claim to be considered among the big league of murderous terrorist outfits.
This weekend its bombers and gunmen killed somewhere between 160 and 200 people, scattering corpses across Kano, the capital of northern Nigeria and home of its most senior Muslim cleric the Emir.
Some want Boko Haram to be listed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization alongside the likes of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Shabaab and certainly its attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja last year made that more likely, as do the occasional threats to attack other Western targets.
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But Boko Haram — despite the broadly anti-Western stance that its name suggests, 'Western eduction is forbidden' — is at core a movement of the regional underclass harnessed to radical Islam.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan might sound tough in treating Boko Haram as a terrorist group to be crushed but it's no solution, far harder is tackling the underlying causes of regional poverty, neglect and marginalization.