More girls escape Boko Haram
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/29/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Four more of the more than 270 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram back in April, have escaped according to Borno state authorities.
A group of Nigerians holding banners urging the Muslim group Boko Haram to return the more than 200 girls they kidnapped in mid-April.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Nigerian girls were taking exams at a secondary school in the remote village of Chibok on April 14. Gunmen from the radical Muslim organization, who oppose all forms of western education, surrounded the school and loaded 276 girls onto trucks and shipped them off.
Authorities from the beleaguered state claim that fifty-three girls escaped shortly afterwards and estimate that 219 girls are still being held hostage.
A state official said it was not clear when the girls escaped as the girl's parents did not contact authorities after they returned.
"It was a little after the initial escapes, but we doubt it was a recent escape," said the official.
This massive kidnapping placed a spotlights on the Islamist group, which has been actively terrorizing Nigeria since 2002. Boko Haram has struggled for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, killing thousands and threatening the stability of Africa's top oil-producer.
The group's Hausa language name means "Western Education is a sin" and is formerly known as the "Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad". The group is opposed to western education and believes, among other things, that a spherical world, democracy and Darwinism are lies propagated b y the West.
Nigeria's Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on May 27 that the military knew where the abducted girls were, but ruled out a rescue attempt due to fears of endangering the girls. Boko Haram has proved ruthlessness against civilians, and officials fear that any attempt with force would lead to executions of the hostages.
It's failure to protect the girls, as well as it's slow response to the ongoing crisis has led to criticisms of the Nigerian military at home and internationally.
"No matter the criticisms, the Nigerian Armed Forces will continue to do what it has sworn to do," said Badeh. "We have international partners working with us to release our girls, and our girls will be released."
In May of 2014, a summit in Paris declared that Boko Haram is a part of the international Muslim terrorist organization al-Qaeda. Western leaders have pledged to provide ongoing support, training and technical expertise to the new African effort against the extremists.
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