Mikulski presses for further sanctions over Boko Haram kidnappings

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is leading a group of women who on Tuesday called for tougher international sanctions against an organization that kidnapped more than 200 girls in Nigeria last month.

The Maryland Democrat along with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, organized a letter Tuesday to President Obama, urging him to advocate for tougher international sanctions against Islamic terror group Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. The bipartisan letter was signed by all 20 women senators.

"We need to speak up as a nation, women and men together," Mikulski said on the floor of the Senate, which on Tuesday approved a resolution condemning the action. "We urge timely civilian assistance from the United States and allied nations in rescuing these girls."

The girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in Nigeria in April. Mikulski said she believes the Nigerian government has been "slow to respond" to the situation. Boko Haram has threatened to sell the girls into slavery.

The letter urges the White House to press for Boko Haram to be added to the United Nations Security Council's al Qaeda sanctions list, which would prompt other nations to impose sanctions. The U.S. is already sending a team of military and law enforcement officials to advise the Nigerian government.

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