The Islamist terrorist group has kidnapped another 30 children, both boys and girls, over the weekend. Since the largest kidnapping in April, residents of Nigeria believed that the government was close to declaring a cease-fire and negotiating the release of those already kidnapped. However, with this recent move from the insurgents residents are doubting that the government is close to dealing with the problem.
On Friday Boko Haram raided the town of Mafa a Local Government Area of Borno State, Nigeria taking with them 30 children. This time they took both boys and girls, some as young as 11-years-old, according to sources. Though it took a while for the news to get out, women in the country are, once again, protesting hoping for the return of their children, including the large amount of girls that were taken back in April.
Boko Haram still possesses the 219 schoolgirls that were abducted earlier in the year, and now that the insurgent group was able to take children again, many are doubting the reports that the government was in negotiations with the group to get the schoolgirls back. Currently the country is saying that they believe that the 30 kids kidnapped over the weekend are going to be trained to be part of Boko Haram, but the Human Rights Watch has released information about the schoolgirls, stating that as they are being held they are undergoing much abuse.
The New York based Human Rights Watch has estimated that Boko Haram has taken over 500 girls since the year 2009. Though the 219 girls taken in April were the largest group kidnapping, the act of kidnapping is nothing new to the terrorist group. The HRW reports on the terrible conditions that the kidnapped girls are in, declaring that the woman are repeatedly raped and sometimes even forced to marry the soldiers of the group, regardless of their age. They state that testimonies from the girls who were able to escape prove that the women are forced to do whatever Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, tells them too, including forcing the wives of soldiers to block entryways as other soldiers come into consummate their marriages with new kidnapped victims.
As Boko Haram continues to kidnap children from towns in Nigeria, residents of the country are growing outraged. But the leader of the group justifies the kidnappings by stating that they are going to continue doing so until the Nigerian government releases the soldiers and family of soldiers who belong to Boko Haram. He states that it is retaliation for the Nigerian government holding their family in detention.
However, according to testimony from one of the women who escaped, the leader Shekau has also said that another motive for the kidnapping of schoolgirls was because they were targeting women who seek education. This motive is suggested as an obvious one, human rights groups state, as the name Boko Haram supposedly means ‘Western education is a sin.’
Though the government has stated that they are working on negotiating terms with the terrorist group, responsible for thousands of killings and hundreds of thousands of missing Nigerians, residents are losing hope as their children continue to disappear. The thirty children taken over the weekend are just an addition to the hundreds of kidnappings that Boko Haram has gotten away with. Though the Nigerian government has threatened to harm members in detention, the Islamist terrorist group does not seem to be backing down.
By Crystal Boulware