It seems doubtful the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April will ever be returned to their homes. That’s because last night, their homes were taken as well. The largely Christian town of Chibok has been overrun and captured.
Last night, Boko Haram attacked the town, which was defended by soldiers and vigilantes. By some accounts, many ran without firing a shot. Telecom towers were destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades, making it difficult for remaining residents to get outside contact. What messages have come through all tell the same story: Boko Haram is in control.
Boko Haram, a terrorist group centered in northeast Nigeria, has changed tactics. They’re actually keeping territory, rather than using the guerrilla tactics that have killed thousands in the last five years. Disturbingly, it doesn’t seem that the Nigerian government has the ability to handle the threat, or they’re not that worried about it. Former Kaduna State governor, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd), agrees. In a statement sent to Sahara Reporters, he says the following:
In spite of the growing multitudes of wailing victims, of those killed, uprooted, destitute, and sent into wilderness as refugees, the elites in Nigeria appear blissfully oblivious and give scant concern that their nation is fighting a most destructive war with Boko Haram. They seem to be thankful that the fire is burning in the remote northeast corner of the country; a fact that they seem to think has relieved them of any responsibility.
How else can one describe the recklessness and the cold indifference being displayed by our politicians as they divert attention of the nation away from the killings and creating the impression that all that matters is the 2015 elections? And while our politicians dance away the nights and days to the wild cheers of their gullible and greedy supporters, town after town is overrun and brought under the merciless control of the BH insurgents.
You can read the entire statement here. It is summed up nicely by the title sentence:
“While Nigerians are divided, Boko Haram is taking over our country.”
It’s a problem that goes far beyond the kidnapped girls. Sadly, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group, claims to have followed through and married the girls off, as well as converted them to Islam. While tragic, this shouldn’t come as a surprise — the official name of the group is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad, which means “People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad.” Like many religious sects, they want lots of babies. It’s easier to indoctrinate people when you start them young, after all.
The goal of Boko Haram (which incidentally means “Western education is forbidden”) is to establish an Islamic state in Africa. Abubakar Shekau has also expressed support for ISIS. Already, hundreds of thousands have fled the conflict zone.
In more optimistic news, security forces managed to take back Mubi on Thursday as well, which was the largest city taken by Boko Haram. However, without an escalation in force by the Nigerian government, it is unlikely that Boko Haram will be stopped.