Nigerian officials are claiming that Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist terrorist group, kidnapped up to 100 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria on Monday. Reuters has the story:
Islamist rebels duped dozens of Nigerian schoolgirls into thinking they were soldiers come to evacuate them before abducting over 100 in their latest anti-government raid, one of the survivors said on Wednesday.Gunmen suspected to be members of the radical Islamist movement Boko Haram swooped on Chibok town in Borno state and on its nearby all-girls government secondary school late on Monday, calling on the students to leave their beds in the hostel. […]“When we saw these gunmen, we thought they were soldiers, they told all of us to come and walk to the gates, we followed their instructions,” 18-year-old Godiya Isaiah, who later managed to escape the abductors, told Reuters.But when the armed men started ransacking the school stores and set fire to the building, the terrified girls being herded at gunpoint into vehicles realized they were being kidnapped.“We were crying,” Isaiah said, recounting how she later jumped from a truck and ran away to hide in the bush. Other girls were packed into a bus and some pick-ups.
The gunmen also killed a soldier and a police officer who were in charge of guarding the school, which was open despite the closure of schools state-wide. Boko Haram, which roughly means “Western education is sinful,” has been attacking schools throughout the region, ruthlessly murdering hundreds of students. The girls in Chibok were braving the danger to take their final-year certificate exams.Boko Haram, which is believed to have camps in the hilly forests surrounding Chibok near the border with Cameroon, have used kidnapped girls in the past as sex slaves and laborers. All of this happened the same day that a bomb blast, also blamed on the Islamist group, killed 75 people at a bus station outside the capital Abuja.Despite a much touted government military offensive that was launched against the militants in October, the threat from Boko Haram is growing. Abuja, which in three weeks is set to host the World Economic Forum on Africa (called the “African Davos”), is hundreds of miles away from the state of Borno, where the kidnappings took place. That Boko Haram might be able to conduct two highly-coordinated attacks against Nigerian civilians on the same day, in two locations far apart, will not be any comfort to President Goodluck Jonathan and the people he is charged with protecting.