On April 14, 2014, 200-300 school girls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Nigeria by an Islamic militant group, Boko Haram (designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in 2013). Few news reports cite the same number of victims, but all report that 40-50 girls escaped the first day.
Those girls report they heard gunfire from a nearby town and then armed men in uniforms burst in assuring them they had nothing to worry about because they were soldiers. The girls said the men were shouting “Allahu Akhbar” (God is great). The girls were herded onto trucks and driven out of town and, it is thought, into the Sambisa forest. At least 200 have not been seen since.
Thus far, the Nigerian government’s response has been anemic at best. ABC News reports President Goodluck Jonathon’s “Defense Ministry put out a statement quoting the school principal, saying soldiers had rescued all but eight of the girls. When the principal denied it, the ministry retracted its statement.” The Nigerian military says they are searching high and low for the girls, but after one month, they have nary a clue as to their whereabouts.
In fact, Boko Haram is emboldened by the lack of action; BBC News reports they kidnapped eight more girls on May 4 from village of Warabe in Borno state.
Why did they kidnap all of these girls? A U.S. Senate Resolution condemning the incident states, “[t]he group popularly known as ‘Boko Haram,’ which loosely translates from the Hausa language to ‘Western education is sin,’ is known to oppose the education of girls, [and] has kidnapped girls in the past to use as cooks and sex slaves.”
CNN quotes Abubakar Shekau, a man purporting to be Boko Haram’s leader, as saying, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah.” CNN states that in an hour-long rambling video, the person also said, “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
The Senate Resolution states there are reports that the school girls have been sold for as little as $12 to be brides for Islamist militants.
Boko Haram members are not just terrorists, they are human traffickers.
So far these terrorists, kidnappers, and sex traffickers have eluded capture, but we hope and pray their reign of terror will end soon. On May 6, U.K. Sky News reported that U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents will join a U.S. team going to Nigeria to help find the girls. The State Department reports that President Jonathon now welcomes international assistance. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls is helping raise awareness on Twitter, and if anyone can bring back the Nigerian girls, it is our FBI.
Pray for the girls to be found safe and sound, the families to have peace during this ordeal, and that Boko Haram is demolished.