The United States has described the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, popularly known as Boko Haram, as ‘entities of particular concern.’
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, made this known in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Religious Freedom Designations’.
The US government also removed Nigeria from the list of countries blacklisted for “engaging in violation of religious freedom”.
In December 2020, the US had listed Nigeria among countries blacklisted for “violating religious freedom”.
The statement reads, “Each year the Secretary of State has the responsibility to identify governments and non-state actors, who, because of their religious freedom violations, merit designation under the International Religious Freedom Act.
“I am designating Burma, the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
“I am also placing Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.
“Finally, I am designating al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.”