A global digital campaign has demanded action in the search for over 200 schoolgirls still missing after being abducted nearly 3 weeks ago in Northern Nigeria. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has been trending globally.
The terrorist group, and government reprisals, have been responsible for a reported 1,500 deaths in the first 3 months of this year. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian President, has come under scrutiny due to a perceived failure to act in rescuing the girls.
The United States and United Kingdom have pledged support in recovering the girls, as the Nigerian Government has announced a financial reward for information.
In a video statement released last week, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, threatened to sell the girls, raising fears that the girls may be sold into slavery or marriage.
Boko Haram’s abduction of the school girls is a continuation of the threat of terrorism in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Global Terrorism Index, which measures the lasting impact of terrorism, shows that terrorism has increased in recent years in Nigeria. Since the start of their insurgency in 2009, Boko Haram has undertaken many attacks and kidnappings across the country. This has significantly increased the levels of terrorism in Nigeria, and subsequently undermined peace.
There are fears that terrorism in Nigeria, and the threat of Boko Haram, may spill over to neighbouring countries. There are reports that Boko Haram has backing from al-Qaeda linked militants in other countries, and is part of a web of terrorist activity in parts of West Africa. An offshoot of Boko Haram, Ansaru, is linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and other terrorist groups operating in Mali, Niger and Algeria. This further highlights the impact that terrorism has in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The popular myth that terrorism is a recent phenomenon chiefly plaguing the ‘West’ is consistently refuted by data. Among the top 10 countries most impacted by terrorism are two Sub-Saharan African nations: Somalia and Nigeria. There are an additional 3 Sub-Saharan African countries that are also in the top 20: Sudan, DRC and Kenya.
Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer a far greater impact of terrorism than ‘Western’ countries. There are 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that suffer a bigger impact from terrorism than the United States.
Levels of peace have declined in Nigeria since 2008, and Nigeria’s 2013 country rating reached an all-time low of 148 out of a total of 162 countries, reflecting the impact of terrorism in Nigeria.
Nigerians have taken to the streets to challenge the government’s response to the group responsible for abducting over 200 school girls
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