By Peter Sullivan - 05/08/14 11:17 AM EDT
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) is calling on the Obama administration to move beyond a "temporary response" to the Nigerian extremist group responsible for kidnapping more than 300 girls.
Royce wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday welcoming their immediate steps to help rescue the girls, but calling for a long-term plan to combat Boko Haram.
“While I welcome the Administration’s efforts in response to the kidnapping, including offering a team of military and law enforcement officials to the Nigerian government, I believe this temporary response will not sufficiently combat Boko Haram’s long-term threat to the region and U.S. interests,” Royce wrote.
He announced that the Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the administration’s efforts to fight Boko Haram, though did not specify a date.
“The Administration should develop a strategic, multifaceted approach to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram,” Royce wrote. “An integral component of this strategy must include robust security assistance and intelligence sharing with Nigeria.”
The letter points out that the top U.S. military commander in Africa, Gen. David Rodriguez, testified last year that Boko Haram is “a threat to Western interests.” He said, though, that the group had not targeted the United States.
All 20 female senators wrote a letter to President Obama this week calling for the U.S. to push for the group to be added to a United Nations sanctions list. The U.S. labeled it a Foreign Terrorist Organization last year and sanctioned it.
In making that designation, the State Department said the group “is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians.”
Royce notes in the letter that the designation came after “significant congressional pressure.”