Posts Tagged ‘Boko Haran’

The West needs to act on Boko Haram

23/01/2015, 01:24:53 PM

by Renie Anjeh

Over the last fortnight, the international community has shown tremendous solidarity with the people of France after the horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris. Millions from across the world, from all faiths and none, took the streets in defiance of vile terrorists, in order to defend values that we hold dear – freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law. In our country, it has sparked a national debate about freedom of speech, liberty and security and the role of religion. If anything is clear from the last week or so, it is that the perpetrators of this disgusting attack on freedom have failed.

However, while the eyes of the world has been focused on France, little attention has been paid to atrocities that are taking place in Nigeria.

But first, let’s go back to last April. 276 schoolgirls, studying at a school in Borno State in north Nigeria, were kidnapped by Boko Haram, and as news of the abduction spread, awareness of this terrorist group grew. The Twitterati took to their smartphones to calling on Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls.

Celebrities with melancholic faces held placards calling on Boko Haram to do just that. Our Prime Minister David Cameron and the First Lady Michelle Obama also joined in, demonstrating their anger at the terrorist group. Goodluck Jonathan, the criminally ineffective President of Nigeria, called Boko Haram to release the girls but blamed the parents of the girls who were kidnapped. But did Boko Haram ‘bring back our girls’? No. And the world forgot.

Now in January 2015, Boko Haram have killed 2,000 people in one single attack.  Sixteen towns and villages in northeast Nigeria have been burnt to the ground. Almost 4,000 homes have been destroyed. Girls as young as 10, have been used by Boko Haram as ‘suicide bombers’, killing at least 23 people. 20,000 have fled their homes, with the majority seeking refuge in neighbouring Chad. As a result, Boko Haram now control 70% of Borno State, in northern Nigeria.


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