Cliff May

Last week, more than a hundred Nigerian students, girls between 15 and 18 years of age, were kidnapped by the al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists of Boko Haram. Most of the girls are still being held. That should be a big story, don’t you think?

Few major-league journalists do. The U.N. has not been moved to rhetoric, much less action. American and European feminists haven’t mobilized. As I write this, the abductions are not featured on the websites of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. “In the News” on the Congressional Black Caucus’ website one finds instead: “Black lawmakers appeal to Pentagon over hairstyle ban.”

What’s the explanation for such widespread lack of interest? Is it because Africa – even Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country with what this year became its largest economy – seems remote? Is it because those who have declared the “Global War on Terrorism” over are loath to call attention to yet another active battlefield? Is it because acknowledging that self-declared Islamic jihadists are persecuting “infidels” in a growing list of countries would shatter the fashionable, multicultural Western world view?

Some details of the attack: In the wee hours of April 14, a convoy of about 60 trucks and motorcycles arrived at the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Chibok, Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has long been active in this area. Indeed, in early March there had been a state-wide school closure because of the threat posed by the Islamist terrorist group whose name means “Western education is forbidden.” In recent days, however, schools re-opened to allow students to take examinations and earn certificates that would make it easier for them to find jobs.

According to some reports, the terrorists were disguised as soldiers, and told the students, mostly Christians, that they were in danger and must leave their dorms quickly; the trucks would take them to safety. According to other reports, the students were forcibly herded into the vehicles after a gun battle with school security guards, two of whom were killed.

The motorcyclists accompanying the trucks into the bush prevented the girls from jumping out. A few managed to escape anyway after the vehicles in which they were riding broke down.

As I write this, it appears that between 20 and 40 of the 107 kidnapped girls have managed to get away.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.