It’s being reported that Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency, kidnapped some 20 girls Monday. It happened just miles from the small town where they abducted several hundred schoolgirls in April. This latest attack and growing anxiety over the schoolgirls who have been missing for months, is mounting pressure on the Nigerian government and raising questions around their effectiveness. The Wall Street Journal reports.
The village of Garkin Fulani was preparing for its weekly market early Monday when Boko Haram fighters pulled up in a tractor trailer and began pulling young girls into the truck, said Adu Ibrahim, the area’s chairman for a vigilante group called the Civilian Joint Task Force.
The village straddles the same dirt road that leads to Chibok, a small and remote town where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in April. The area is the heartland of the insurgency, which has flourished over the past five years despite government efforts to suppress it.
The attack was the latest reminder of how vulnerable the northeastern corner of Nigeria has become, despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s declarations of war against Boko Haram. The country’s military was nowhere to be seen during the hourslong raid, said a member of the state government there.
Instead, the job of preventing more kidnappings has fallen to a group of vigilantes who say they have been left with only hunting rifles, fashioned from car parts and scraps of wood, to go up against the rocket launchers and heavy machine guns of Boko Haram. Read more.
According to experts on the ground, Boko Haram often attacks villages on the days when they host traveling markets. By doing this, the group can stock up on provisions while taking hostages.
“These people have a free hand to do whatever they want,” Jibrin Ibrahim, the director of the advocacy group Center for Democracy and Development told the WSJ. “It’s just that simple.”