Seven weeks ago, militants representing the extremist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from a secondary school in a village in North Eastern Nigeria. Since then, an outpouring of emotion and support has gathered momentum in the world’s media, including the popular #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign, which was endorsed by FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, and quickly attracted reactionary counter-campaigns. But even through all of this, very little was known about the group’s movements, or the whereabouts of the abducted girls. But in the first seemingly major development since the initial abduction, Nigeria’s military has now stated that they know the whereabouts of the girls. Though their rescue might be a little way off just yet.
Through reports filed by Nigeria’s state news agency, the country’s chief of defence staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, has stated that the military is aware of the location of the girls, but at the same time firmly ruled out the use of force in their rescue. Boko Haram has been known to be particularly ruthless against citizens, and in fact since the girls abduction, it is reported that at least 470 civilians have been killed by the group.
Badeh stated: “The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you. But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.“
Boko Haram are an Islamist group attempting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, which is a religiously mixed country. The group has previously made public its demands for the girls to be handed over in exchange for the release of Boko Haram prisoners. Despite reports stating that a deal was close to being made, the Nigerian government – whose President is the excellently named Goodluck Jonathan – has firmly stated that they will not negotiate with criminals.
The situation remains ongoing.
Photo: Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images.
via The Guardian.