Eight more Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram
The weak response by the Nigerian government to the terrorist acts of the al-Qaeda affiliated group Boko Haram has invited more of the same.
Last month, almost 300 girls were abducted from a Christian school in Northeast Nigeria. After a confused and tepid response by the government, which led to widespread protests in Nigeria and outrage around the world, the terrorists have doubled down. They've taken 8 more little girls in the same region, promising to sell them into slavery or marry them off to jihadis.
Lazarus Musa, a resident of the village of Warabe, told Reuters that armed men had opened fire during the raid.
"They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army color. They started shooting in our village," Musa said by telephone from the village in the hilly Gwoza area, Boko Haram's main base.
A police source, who asked not to be identified, said the girls were taken away on trucks, along with looted livestock and food.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened in a video released to the media on Monday to sell the girls abducted from a secondary school on April 14 "on the market".
The kidnappings by the Islamists, who say they are fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, have shocked a country long inured to the violence around the northeast.
They have also embarrassed the government before a World Economic Forum meeting on Africa, the annual gathering of the wealthy and powerful, in Abuja from May 7 to 9.
Nigerian officials had hoped the event would highlight their country's potential as Africa's hottest investment destination since it became the continent's biggest economy from a GDP recalculation in March. The forum has instead been overshadowed by the crisis over the girls, whose whereabouts remain a mystery.
That has thrown the government's failings on national security into the spotlight just when it sought to parade its achievements such as power privatization and economic stability to top global business people and politicians.
Boko Haram, the main security threat to Africa's leading energy producer, is growing bolder and appears better armed than ever.
The US has dispatched some advisors and promised monetary aid but nothing beyond that. Indeed, Nigeria does not want any boots on the ground independently snooping around when their own military has been accused of massive and bloody human rights abuses.
The government has promised to increase its efforts at finding the girls, but it may be that most of them have dispersed to the homes of their new husbands - or taken as slaves to remote areas and even other countries.
Given the feeble efforts of the Nigerian military to protect Christians in the north from Boko Haram terror attacks, it's not surprising they would botch the effort to find and rescue the school girls. What's inexplicable however, is the apparent lack of urgency the government displayed prior to last weekend when international protests goaded them to action. It's almost as if they've given up before they even started.
This is a story that has captured the attention of the world - something I'm sure pleases Boko Haram to no end. But parents worldwide identify with the Nigerian mothers and fathers who desperately await word on the fate of their daughters.