Kidnapping of Nigerian school girls by Boko Haram was a cowardly act
We’ll admit right up front that we would make lousy terrorists. Clearly, we just are not twisted enough for the job.
For instance, it never would have occurred to us to advance our cause -- however noble we might think it -- by the cowardly kidnapping of a couple hundred schoolgirls and threatening to sell them as slaves.
But the violent Nigerian Islamic extremist group that calls itself Boko Haram has steered such a course. The group has been holding hostage school girls it kidnapped on April 14 from a remote area of the northeastern portion of the large African country.
On Monday, Boko Haram, which means Western education is sinful, released a video of some of the girls covered with hijabs apparently praying.
This video comes after one last week in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the slavery threats. In the new video he says he will release his captors, if the Nigerian government releases its Boko Haram prisoners.
But, based on history and what we have seen in this particular crisis, we hold little hope that the Nigerian government can effectively handle such a delicate situation.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has certainly made a mess of things so far.
The abductions and the Nigerian government’s inability to rescue the girls have outraged much of the world already.
Immediately following the abductions in mid-April offers of help poured in from around the globe. It took until last week -- nearly one month -- for Jonathan to finally accept help from the United States, Britain, France and China.
It remains to be seen just exactly how damaging that time lag will be in the outcome of this case. But it is difficult to envision how it could have been helpful.
The delay showcases the apparent lack of urgency on the part of both the government and military; neither is particularly keen on having "outsiders" brought into the mix. While the government apparently has sovereignty worries, the military has human rights abuses of its own it that it would rather not discuss.
The abductions come at a most inopportune time for Jonathan and his government. He was just about to host the World Economic Forum in the capital of Abuja. It was to be a glamorous celebration of the recent international re-evaluation of Nigeria’s economy, which has established that it has rocketed past South Africa to become the largest economy in Africa. Obviously, the bloom is now off that rose.
But truthfully, we can’t take our minds off the nightmare that those brave young girls and their parents back home have had to endure. Like most of the world, we pray for their safe return.
Like we said, we would make lousy terrorists.
~Contra Costa (Calif.) Times
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