--An article came out yesterday about how 11 of the parents of the kidnapped Nigerian girls have died. Seven of the fathers were killed while in the village of Kautakari by Islamic extremists, and the other four died from illness.
--I'm researching the facts surrounding the abduction of the Nigerian school girls. I thought it would be good to give a brief overview of the situation.
When and where were the girls kidnapped?
--The girls were kidnapped on April 16, 2014, a little over 3 months ago.
--They were taken from a private school in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria. It is around 600 miles from the capital city of Abuja.
How many girls?
--The numbers vary according to what source you read, but the latest numbers are that 276 girls were originally taken and 57 have escaped.
Where do authorities think they are being held?
--The Sambisa Forest, which is a wildlife reserve that has a very thick jungle.
Who kidnapped them?
--An Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram, which has ties to Al Qaeda.
Who are the Boko Haram?
--Founded in 2002
--Their name in the Hausa language means "western education is a sin".
--Launched military operations in 2009
--Founding leader was Mohammed Yusuf who was killed in 2009
--He was succeeded by Abubakar Shekau
--Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, they also attacked police and UN headquarters in Abuja
--U.S. declared them a terrorist organization in 2013
--Nigeria's Boko Haram has "caused havoc in Africa's most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions - is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state." They want to impose Sharia Law on the whole country.
Why does the Boko Haram kidnap girls?
--"The group especially opposes the education of women. Under its version of Sharia law, women should be at home raising children and looking after their husbands, not at school learning to read and write.
--It has repeatedly targeted places of learning in deadly attacks that have highlighted its fundamental philosophy against education. The spate of kidnappings began in May 2013 when Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau announced in a video that this was part of its latest bloody campaign. The kidnappings, he said, were retaliation for Nigerian security forces nabbing the wives and children of group members."
What happens to girls and women that are kidnapped by Boko Haram?
--Many are forced to marry their kidnappers and convert to Islam. When some girls that had been kidnapped last November were rescued, many of them were pregnant.
--Boko Haram has threatened on video to sell this latest group of girls into slavery and as child brides.
What is Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan doing about Boko Haram?
--A state of emergency was declared in 3 Northeastern Nigerian states (Borno, Yobe & Adamawa) where Boko Haram is the strongest in May of 2013. National security forces are trying to crack down on the terrorists. But civilians are getting caught in the crossfire. Villages in the north that are primarily Christian are being targeted. Villages all along the Cameroon border have been attacked, sacked, burned and are deserted.
--Many residents in the affected areas feel abandoned and are reaching out to the United Nations.
--A BBC Africa article concludes with these 2 paragraphs about the reign of terror by Boko Haram--
Analysts say northern Nigeria has a history of spawning militant Islamist groups, but Boko Haram has outlived them and has proved to be far more lethal, with a global jihadi agenda. The threat will disappear only if Nigeria's government manages to reduce the region's chronic poverty and builds an education system which gains the support of local Muslims, the analysts say.