Boko Haram's Immunity with Kidnapped Schoolgirls
In English, Boko Haram means " Western education is forbidden". Few actually knew this, thinking it was just a "name" of a terrorist group rampaging mostly in Nigeria, Africa's most promising nation, by Western standards. Up until they had kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the middle of the night in seven trucks, the World knew little about it or even cared knowing about them. Western education to Boko Haram is actually any non-Muslim education, which Western education is easily targeted. The schoolgirls abducted were mostly teenagers, a few escaped, but the majority were taken over a month ago, never to be heard of again.
Boko Haram not only kidnapped the girls, they literally demolished the infrastructure of the schools, burned and tore apart the books, stole whatever they wanted, broke the windows and put a deep seated fear in the locals of the towns they visited. The Nigerian military nor police seemed to have the will or capability to hunt down the Boko Haram group probably because they are better armed and fierce. The fear is similar to what the Mexican drug cartels in Mexico do in local towns. The fear is so real, nobody talks in fear of reprisals to the person who said it or their family.
Boko Haram is a gang of thugs. They have attacked and destroyed local police stations and raided arms depots. They bribe others to act in their behalf. The kidnapping of the schoolgirls is simply business to them. The girls will be sold for anywhere between $50-300, depending on their body. The buyer will no doubt rape them and force them to have babies and to be a maid for the master. Their view on women is similar to that of the Taliban. They should not be educated and do whatever the man wants, other words, a slave. The worst part of the kidnappings is that the Nigerian Army had received warnings it was going to happen and did nothing! They were complicit in the crime. President Goodluck Jonathan has said that Boko Haram has "infiltrated ... the armed forces and police". He declared a state of emergency in the northeast a year ago, ordering extra troops, yet, they are only words.
Boko Haram began in 2002, founded by Mohammed Yusuf, a young, angry man. Until 2009, the small group of fundamental Islamists and the Nigerian government, 600 miles away from Borno, coexisted in relative peace. That is because when it began, Yusuf, built an educational complex that included a mosque and school. The locals in this part of Northern Nigeria flocked to him and his message because all were dirt poor. Like a Christian movement, Yusuf, had devout followers by choice and his brand of Islam. But in 2009, the Nigerian government investigated and decided to raid the complex resulting in a bloody battle with 700 dead. Yusuf was arrested and jailed where he later died, shot while trying to escape.
Although the leader was killed, his lieutenants, survived and took up the jihad in extreme from seeds of revenge. By 2011, the new radical leader was now Abubakar Shenkau, armed with good weapons began his mobile rampaging in Borno. Terror was his ally and kidnappings and murder of 59 boys, school destruction and more began. The attacks in the towns faced little opposition from police or Nigerian military. They controlled with impunity the Borno region. Recently, they attacked Gamboru, a small city. The gun battle and rampage lasted 12 hours, showing they do know tactics and have staying power. Over 300 were killed and 50 bodies burned. The group used two APCs and numerous trucks in the attack and the defending garrison fled instead of fighting. The city was left in shambles. Most of the inhabitants had fled into Cameroon.
With over 1500 killed by this group this year, where is the Nigerian army? Police? Is it so corrupt in fear that the government is not willing to hunt Boko Haram down or at least provide towns with protection. Part of the issue is that Borno province is a good 600 miles from Nigeria's bustling modern city where the government it. There is a single road to there and once you leave the security of the capital, there is really nothing but small towns that live in fear. But fear is the Boko Haram's greatest ally and weapon.
What needs to happen is what the French did, directly intervene with their own troops and equipment, use of aircraft and gunships to put fear into Boko Haram.