Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram, terrorizing children and fighting terrorism

Every parents worst nightmare 270+ missing daughters

Nation wide protest by mothers for the release and safe return of their daughters taken by terrorist group Boko Haram. Pic from News 24 South Africa
Coming on the heels of Nigeria hosting the World Economic Forum, 150+ innocent souls have been murdered and additional 200 bystanders injured in villages in Northern Nigeria following the kidnapping of 270 school children mostly girls from various villages. The  violent insurgency group Boko Haram who first emerged in Nigeria in 2009 or even earlier by some accounts, has been turning Northern Nigeria and the rest of the country into a hell on earth attacking civilians both Christians and Muslims throughout the countryside and in Nigerian capital Abuja in an attempt to overthrow the government and implement their own rule based on a Wahhabist/Takfiri interpretation of Sharia governance. The Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has made eradicating Boko Haram as part of Nigeria's national security policy and assuring the Nigerian public that the government is fighting terrorism at all cost. The abduction of 270+ school girls from the town Chibok over the weekend horrified the country and world leading to a national campaign dubbed, "Bring Back Our Girls." Mothers and sisters have continued their protest across the country demanding President Jonathan do more to bring their daughters back. The mothers have decried Boko Haram's reference to selling their daughters as slaves in an online video in which the commander was seen cruelly smiling. The first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan angered many Nigerians by downplaying the kidnapping's severity by wondering why the U.S. should intervene when, "the girls are no longer missing" implying that the protesting mothers no longer needed to keep up pressure on the government or their vigils for their missing children. The mothers' protest has transformed into an unofficial global protest picked up by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, journalists and media pundits, cause de celebres Malala Yousefzai. There are few places in the world where children should feel the most secure in the home or at school.

The US has offered to help Nigerian security forces find and locate the missing school girls. So far only one school girl has escaped and shared her experience. The U.S. government jump to help. Although praised by some Nigerians tired of the Nigerian government's ineffectiveness against Boko, the arrival of American troops in Nigeria has raised eyebrows given previous American interventions in other African countries Libya, D.R. Congo and South Sudan. Or lack of American interest and gumption to intervene in neighboring countries conflict ie Central African Republic, Chad and Mali. The four mentioned are former french colonies and France has not hesitated to intervene in the name of fighting terrorism including sending troops despite criticism from the French people as a whole.

Throughout the war on terror, Nigeria has been spared from NATO's preemptive strikes and a future bombings on Boko Haram. Africom and Western military advisers are growing on the continent using terrorism as the raison d entre to intervene in West Africa and South Sudan. Remember the European mercenaries operating quietly in several African countries during the independence movements, in today's conflicts and Western governments (via allies) supplying of weapons to anti-Takfiri/terrorist groups in Libya, C.A.R, DR. Congo, Mali and Cote d' Ivoire. Strangely, Ecowas has not been mentioned as a possible search and rescue force by mainstream media or the pundits. Ecowas leaders recently wrapped up a meeting in Ghana on Boko Haram and the wider Western African security and terrorism concerns. Ghanaian President John Mahama, who is also Ecowas chairman has suggested building up a force of Ecowas troops to aid Nigerian security forces and military to fight against Boko Haram.

President Jonathan and wider Nigerian government have been rightly condemned by society for their slow and weak response to locating and finding the school children. Boko Haram has not only kidnapped school children but managed to attack neighboring and rural towns in Maidiguri, Chibok and other Northeastern towns where violence has been the most heavy. The Nigerian military has used heavy handed tactics rounding up suspected males from 18 and up, beating and torturing detained suspects and occasionally bombing villages and towns regarded as safe havens while fighting Boko Haram militants as part of its own local war on terrorism.

Boko Haram kidnap 8 more school girls after kidnapping 270+ 

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