Global Commitment to Aid Nigerian Schoolgirl Rescue
By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
The abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by the terrorist outfit Boko Haram has led to an amassed global effort of righteousness and an international political centerpiece rallying for cooperation in their rescue and return. The children were kidnapped on April 15 from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok.
Boko Haram is so extreme, the group was even condemned by al-Qaida members and other jihadists—even though some of them were trained in Afghanistan by al-Qaida.
The current problme is the location of the kidnapped girls. Officials say that the efforts to rescue them were slow and that they are now in various locations. It remains unclear if the schoolgirls were split up and taken out of the country (e.g., Cameroon) or remain somewhere in Nigeria.
“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” stated the president of Nigeria, Jonathon Goodluck.
What was Boko Haram’s reasoning behind the abduction? The tactic was an escalation in terrorism to halt all forms of education of females and non-Muslim education. The group’s ultimate goal is to install an Islamic rule in Nigeria, a nation with some 85 million Christians.
“I enjoy killing anyone God tells me to kill the way I enjoy killing chickens or rams,” said Abubakar Muhammad Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader.
If the latest move does not succeed, the group will resort to obtaining slave money or marrying off the girls. After taking full responsibility, Shekau also threatened to sell the kidnapped schoolgirls on the “open market.” Boko Haram is known for killing hundreds—if not thousands—of schoolchildren this year alone. They commonly use captured children as slaves.
Is the U.S. commitment strong enough?
That is a common question buzzing in the media channels. Officially, the Pentagon admitted to sending a single team to Nigeria to work with security officials there, but a lot is being done on other levels as well. The State Department has an interagency team that will be working with President Goodluck.
The U.S. has trained the Nigerian army to fight violent extremists for two years. The latest assistance includes a range of intelligence sharing, advisement, communications, mission planning and training. Additionally, surveillance aircraft is under consideration, according to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. assistant-secretary of State for African Affairs (Source: NBC).
Flying in American troops was quickly ruled out. Instead, Washington’s approach to the Nigerian school kidnapping is largely being directed to invoking an international campaign in the rescue effort.
“The entire world should not only be condemning this outrage but should be doing everything possible to help Nigeria in the days ahead,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry.
At first, this was a blotched internal matter in which the Nigerian government failed to move against Boko Haram in spite of an alleged four-hour warning and neglected to set up any additional security at the school. The Nigerians then required the assistance of greater foreign aid and expertise and have welcomed them.
However, Nigeria remains at war with itself and many questions remained unanswered regarding the suspicious blunders that are now coming to light. In the meantime, the U.S. will coordinate rescue efforts with teams from the U.K., China and other countries.