Boko Haram spreads terror
Terrorism has had regressively ugly manifestations but the abduction of 110 innocent schoolgirls in Nigeria has left the world in utter shock. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has called the kidnapping a "national disaster". The ways of Boko Haram militants are not unknown—so, why is the government showing abject helplessness after a similar incident had already been recorded four years ago? Nearly 300 girls were abducted at that point in time. All but 100 returned. What happened to those who did not? Why have investigations yielded nothing? Or, is the Intelligence so weak that even with clues it ends up clueless? All that the Nigerian government has done is to confirm that 110 girls are missing after "Boko Haram militants" attacked a school in the northeast of the country last week. The kidnapping is believed to be the largest abduction since the earlier incident in Chibok almost four years ago. On February 19, armed insurgents attacked the Government Science and Technical College in the town of Dapchi situated in the state of Yobe. Initially, it was unclear how many girls had been abducted, with some reports saying 50 were missing. The state government then said on Wednesday that some of the girls had been rescued, prompting confusion and then despair when it turned out to not be the case. But the Information Ministry confirmed the earlier fears: 110 girls had, indeed, disappeared. On Monday, Nigeria said it had deployed extra troops and planes to search for the missing girls. True, the attack in Dapchi brings back painful memories of the 2014 Chibok abduction that garnered international attention with the worldwide #BringBackOurGirls campaign to pressure the Nigerian government into action. But, strangely, the "action" could not account for more than 100 girls who are still missing from that attack. Boko Haram is an extremist group trying to institute an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria and has been waging a violent insurgency since 2009. More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million have fled. This calls for international intervention to guarantee peacekeeping initiatives and also assure security for the innocent and the helpless. The United Nations Peacekeeping forces have often been deployed in parts of Africa where lawlessness and uncertainty prevail. They have also come under frequent attacks. But if the local government maintains a distance, how would that help? More "disasters" are waiting to happen if determination, sense, and sensibility do not prevail amongst those elected to power. For the present, however, everyone has to rest on Buhari's assurance, "We are sorry that it happened. We share your pain. Let me assure you that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls." Here's hoping against hope.