The latest round of terrorism to hit Nigeria involves young girls, aged 12 to 15. They were ripped from the village of Warabe late Sunday night by the group Boko Haram, and has provoked the established Nigeria Government to invoke a world-wide manhunt for the leader of the terror cell, Abubakar Shekau, also known as Darul Tawheed. He has been seen in a video released by the group saying that he has abducted the girls and that he will be selling them in the marketplace in neighboring countries. However, it is a known fact that the victims of these kidnappings have been sold as brides to members of the sect, who have paid just $12 for the privilege. The girls who are not bought by members of the gang are taken into neighboring Chad and Cameroon to be sold off in auctions. Of the more than 300 females taken, over 280 are still missing and thought to be still in the groups’ hands. There are reports that two girls have perished from snake bites and that several more of the girls have become ill. It is also said that 53 of the taken girls have escaped their captors.
Boko Haram, loosely translated to mean “Western” or “Non-Islamic Education is a Sin” is an Islamic sect that was founded 12 years ago in Nigeria by Mohammed Yusuf. He was murdered by Nigerian police while incarcerated in 2009. Leaderless, the terror group then fled to neighboring Niger, were it is thought they were met by Al-Qaeda extremists who provided the Nigerian group training in weapons making and giving them money. On returning to Nigeria, the cell was then taken over by Abubakar Shekau. He then set the group to work in their native land, setting off car bombs in market places, places of worship, and carrying out assassinations from motorcycles in the capitol of the country, Abuja. The cell has also been responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in the capitol as well as blowing up the police headquarters. Back in 2012, during a 24 hour period in Kano, the capitol city of Kano State in Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram massacred 135 people. To date, the cell has done away with more than 2,000 victims, provoking Nigeria to create an established manhunt for members of the group.
Although help has been offered to the least governed, least visited and most neglected place on earth, acceptance has been slow in coming. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has recently come under fire for waiting so long to acknowledge the hostage taking; three weeks have passed since the first girls were taken from Chibok, a boarding school in the north-eastern corner of Nigeria, bordering Cameroon. In fact, the President of the country has been photographed visiting a survivor of a Boko Haram raid in which he has his face turned away from her and his hand is in his pocket. And while other world leaders were calling the actions of the incident an outrage, President Jonathan managed to mumble that is was only unfortunate. When a mother of one of the victims had a chance to meet his wife, she was arrested for inquiring why Nigeria had not established a manhunt for the Boko Haram yet.
These recent abductions in Nigeria, involving Boko Haram, are in conjunction with the April 14, 2014 seizures of 200 or more girls from other schools in the region, which did not at first, include an established manhunt for the terror group. Witnesses who saw the account of what happened in April, say that armed men violently subdued the schools security guards at the all-girls school, yanked the females out of bed, and piled them into trucks before disappearing into the jungle. If anyone tried to resist them they were beaten for their troubles or killed outright.
Although Boko Haram has also killed thousands of people over the years, it is the kidnapping and lack of a manhunt for the females that has established the most outrage around the world in the events plaguing Nigeria right now. A #BringBackOurGirls movement started on Twitter, but now has gone viral; with people making demonstrations around the world and taking to the streets to demand action from their local governments and the Government of Nigeria. Over 40,000 people, including celebrity A-listers and lawmakers have added their names to a petition that is being circulated on the website, change.org, which calls for the whole world to act in order to save the girls from Boko Haram. It also asks that President Jonathan and his government protect all schools in Nigeria and to make sure they are safe places of learning for everyone.
Opinion by Korrey Laderoute