On May 13 the Washington-based Hudson Institute presented a panel titled ‘A Survivor’s Account of Boko Haram’s Religious Cleansing in Nigeria’ featuring Deborah Peters a teenage girl whose father, a pastor, and her brother were killed by the terrorist group in 2011. The Hudson panel discussion revealed that “Since 2011, Boko Haram attacks have killed over 1,000 Nigerian Christians, and bombed, torched, or otherwise destroyed scores of Christian churches, villages, and homes.”
By Georgiana Constantin l June 2, 2014
Reports have circulated worldwide of some 300 teenage girls kidnapped in a dawn raid in Chibok, a Christian enclave in the Borno State of northeastern Nigeria on April 15 by the so-called Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad, aka Boko Haram, which translated means “Western education is sinful.” Reporters Without Borders described the group as “founded in 2002 by Muhammad Yusuf in Maiduguri.”
On May 13 the Washington-based Hudson Institute presented a panel titled ‘A Survivor’s Account of Boko Haram’s Religious Cleansing in Nigeria’ featuring Deborah Peters a teenage girl whose father, a pastor, and her brother were killed by the terrorist group in 2011.
The Hudson panel discussion revealed that “Since 2011, Boko Haram attacks have killed over 1,000 Nigerian Christians, and bombed, torched, or otherwise destroyed scores of Christian churches, villages, and homes.”
According to the Guardian, Abubakar Shekau, Boku Haram’s leader threatened to sell the kidnapped girls at market. “I will sell them off and marry them off. There is a market for selling humans. Women are slaves. I want to reassure my Muslim brothers that Allah says slaves are permitted in Islam.”
Abul Qaqa, the Islamist organization’s spokesman purportedly stated: “We do not beat around the bush. Our goal? The application of Sharia law throughout Nigeria. How do we go about it? Through kidnappings, bombings and suicide attacks aimed at the United Nations, churches and symbols of the federal government such as police stations.”
He then added, “the media are also a target, with good reason! We have warned journalists and news organizations on many occasions to be professional and objective in their reports.”
It has been understood that the organization is a spiritual follower of al-Qaeda as Morgan Norval also observes writing for SFPPR News & Analysis, “documents seized by Navy SEALS during the 2011 attack in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, who was a Saudi Arabian, shows top level contacts between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda.”
Apparently Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan did not, at first, make any public comments on the matter of the abductions, however, later on he pledged that the government would return the girls to their families,stating: “This is a trying time for this country. It is painful.” However, the government’s handling of the situation has only sparked protests around the country, and, it seems throughout the world as well.
Reportedly “heartbroken” over the incident, Michelle Obama, and the president having two young girls of their own, posted an Instagram photo of herself holding a sign reading #BringBackOurGirls.
CNN reports that “from Los Angeles to London, demonstrators carried posters reading #BringBackOurGirls – a campaign that began on Twitter following the mass abduction of the girls in April – and chanted “Bring them home!” and “Not for sale!” and “African lives matter!”
On May 21, President Obama sent a letter to Congress notifying them that “Approximately 80 U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Chad as part of the U.S. efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria.”
In a recent development, on May 26, the Nigerian defense chief, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, claimed that the schoolgirls have been located, but that they cannot go in with force to get them. “We can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back” he is reported to have stated. Badeh refused to elaborate on where exactly the girls were located and reminded the people how dangerous going in with force would be. “Nobody should come and say the Nigerian military does not know what it is doing. We know what we are doing,” he added.
Nigeria’s government and military has faced serious international pressure regarding the location and rescue of the school girls. In the meantime, the girls’ families have taken matters into their own hands and have started searching for their children by themselves.
A worrying Fox News report states that two of the girls “may have died of snake bites” while “some have been forced to marry their abductors” and others “may have been carried across borders into Chad and Cameroon.” Moreover, a Boko Haram video apparently shows “some of the girls reciting Koranic verses in Arabic and two of them explaining why they had converted from Christianity to Islam in captivity.”
As the families continue to search for their children and pray for their safe return, world leaders largely ignore the onslaught by radical Islamists, like Boko Haram, against Christianity and Western education, especially for young girls and women.
Georgiana Constantin is a law school graduate who has studied European, International and Romanian law. Her thesis on the UN and global governance was completed at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest. She is currently a Masters candidate for International and European Law at the Nicolae Titulescu University in Bucharest. Ms. Constantin, who is based in Romania, is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.