'No one ever knew': Boko Haram's reach extends far beyond the Chibok girls
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Everyone has heard of the kidnapped Chibok girls, who were taken by the African terrorist group Boko Haram - but what about the other victims?
Boko Haram is worse than most understand as Chibok girls take the stage (AFP).
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Boko Haram's reign of terror has ended more lives than their Middle Eastern counterparts have and continue to make headlines for their mass kidnapping of the famed Chibok girls but what isn't being widely publicized are the other women saved from the clutches of evil.
According to The Daily Beast, nearly 100 other women and children have been rescued from Boko Haram - but the news was not spread until it was believed one of the girls could have been one of the famous Chibok schoolgirls.
Though so many lives were saved from Boko Haram's continued rape and starvation practices, no one seemed to care.
Brig. General Abubakar Rabe told CNN: "We shouldn't focus on whether she is one of the Chibok girls or not. The important thing is that we are pursuing Boko Haram and rescuing human beings on a daily basis. We should be allowed to concentrate on rescuing other people in our operations."
Nigerian officials reported they are making progress in the fight against Boko Haram, a claim that has been partially confirmed by surviving sex slaves who reported troops shooting everyone at the terrorist camps - whether they be Boko Haram or running women.
Though their strategy is more than questionable, the Nigerian military claims to have rescued over 1,000 hostages. Unfortunately, the exact number of abducted women has yet to be substantiated.
Nigeria has called for a return of their stolen women and girls (aljazeera).
What few understand is prior to the Chibok schoolgirl abduction, the extremists had been abducting, marrying and raping for years.
According to The Daily Beast, UNICEF's chief child protection officer in Nigeria, Rachel Harvey, explained: "What's very important to remember is that Boko Haram held huge territory - they were in control of 19 out of 65 local government areas across the three states of emergency. So while usually you would have a situation where if children, if wives or family members were abducted, they'd be able to report it, for a long period of time those areas were inaccessible, so those reports were not able to be made.
"What we're seeing is much larger numbers [of people] that have been rescued and encountered by the Nigerian armed forces and I think we should expect to see numbers in the thousands who were not only abducted, but held under Boko Haram control and also subjected to sexual violence."
Harvey continued, saying : "Both Muslims [sic] girls and women, Christian girls and women were targeted. People were targeted in Boko Haram strongholds ... boys were also abducted and they were used by Boko Haram both in support roles and to fight as well. I don't think anyone was safe from the abductions."
Jeff Okoroafor, a spokesman for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign, described how the Chibok schoolgirl mass kidnapping brought Boko Haram's atrocities to light.
"No one ever knew about these abducted persons before we started crying out about the Chibok girls' abduction," Okoroafor explained. "These were people the government never knew had been taken. It doesn't mean we don't speak for the other abducted persons, it only means that we are holding onto [the Chibok girls] as a symbol."
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