Over 60 Brave ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Women Kidnapped By Boko Haram Are Bringing Themselves Back
Amazing news out of Nigeria and the Islamic group Boko Haram who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April, more than 60 women and girls have escaped the group after they were abducted near Damboa in north-eastern Borno state in late June. The BBC reports that the women escaped when the militants went to attack a military base near Damboa on Friday. This good news comes after an incident last week where three women were arrested for recruiting female members for the militant group. For those of you unfamiliar with Boko Haram and what they are all about, they has been waging an insurgency for more than a decade in its effort to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. Boko Haram translates to “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.
If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time wondering why the Nigerian government has been unable to get back the 200 schoolgirls who have been kidnapped. The BBC explains it thusly:
Because of the military’s human rights record people do not trust them, plus they lack modern equipment, training and motivation.
A UK military officer who has worked closely with the Nigerians says they are stuck in a Catch-22 situation.
“The trouble with the Nigerian government is that they want a big red button, which you can press and it will fix everything,” says James Hall, a retired colonel and former UK military attache to Nigeria.
“I was asked by a senior commander if we could sell them the machine that can tell if a car driving down the road contains a terrorist,” he added.
“I tried to tell them that such a machine doesn’t exist, but then they just thought we were hiding it from them.”
It also doesn’t help that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both criticised the Nigerian military for their tactics, and it’s only because of the kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok that more attention is on the military at this point, with advisers from China, France, Israel the UK and the US to help its forces. I’m in no way an expert on any of this, but it sounds to me like it would take years and years of specialized training and equipment but that “We have reduced dramatically the types of training and equipment we’re willing to provide.” From the LA Times:
Nigeria’s military has ruled out a rescue mission to recover the schoolgirls, saying many probably would be killed. Some analysts believe the only option for recovering them is a prisoner swap, but Nigerian authorities have ruled out negotiations.
I think it’s amazing that these women and girls were brave enough to pull off their escape mission under the cover of night, but it’s because they really had no other option. I can’t even begin to fathom how terrifying this must have been for them, but here’s hoping more militants will be busy attacking military bases andy resting from fasting that more of these women will be able to pull off brave escapes like this.