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Sometimes Terrorists Win


On Saturday, Islamist militants killed at least 29 students and one teacher in a state in northeast Nigeria. The terrorists set fire to a dormitory, burning many students alive, and shot survivors who attempted to escape.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has been blamed for the horrific attack. Presumably the goal in murdering dozens of young students in cold blood at a boarding school was to scare parents and students away from modern forms of education and to convince the government to close schools that Boko Haram considers to be oriented toward Western culture. In that, Boko Haram succeeded. Governor Ibrahim Gaidan visited the burned school and injured survivors yesterday. He called the attackers “callous and devoid of any shred of humanity” and ordered all secondary schools across his state (estimated population 2.5 million) to close until September. All told, Boko Haram fighters killed 48 students and seven teachers in northeast Nigeria last month.

Boko Haram has continued to launch attacks against institutions and emblems of Western culture, as well as against symbols of southern Nigerian dominance of the north, in defiance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s dispatching of thousands of troops and his declaration of a state of emergency in May.

Nigeria’s weak government and the questionable actions of the police and army (it is also accused of murdering civilians) show how difficult it is to defeat organizations like Boko Haram, which recruits young men from the impoverished, undeveloped, and predominately Muslim north who are disaffected by the oppressiveness of the mostly Christian, wealthier south. All that was needed to convince the government to close schools across an entire state was a few gallons of gasoline and automatic weapons. The army’s response to this attack is likely to be heavy-handed—and probably unsuccessful.

For people in northeast Nigeria trying to stay out of the crossfire of this war, there is no end in sight.

[Muslim militant image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Matthew Brotchie

    Could you PLEASE write an essay about the people who are funding Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda ect..The funding is all coming from the same place. Its safe to assume that without millions of dollars in backing these groups would be a much more manageable problem.

  • Pete

    Muslims at it again.

  • Jim__L

    Sounds like a good time to start teaching riflery at these schools.

  • notanyone1980

    Didn’t the terrorist win in WWI with the help of the US? Didn’t the Black Hand and the Serbian Nationalist get what they wanted? Terrorism has been winning since Viriatus employed such tactics against the Romans in Spain and won a treaty in 2nd century BC.

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