Saturday May 10 2014

Free abducted Nigerian girls

We should not remain silent. Let’s stop it! …this will spread and happen more and more.” But Africa remained silent for a tad too long. In the three-week space of silence, more 20 young girls were reported kidnapped in north-eastern Nigeria.

So the rallying cry of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a shooting by Taliban insurgents, must spur us to the rescue of the more than 200 abducted girls from northern Nigerian. She senses the pain more than any of us. As Malala says, it is everyone’s duty to get education and knowledge. The Christian and Muslim schoolgirls of Chibok in Borno State are no exception.
Reports that two children had died of snakebites and 11 were ill are heart-breaking. Africa must get angrier and condemn the ignoble attitude of armed Boko Haram militants that reduces girls to housewives and domestic chores. Uganda still lives with its own painful memories of 139 abducted St Mary’s Aboke schoolgirls, and hundreds more from northern Uganda.

The global outrage and gesture of goodwill is welcome. It is only comforting that the hash tag Bringbackourgirls, has twitted more than a million times.
The US experts and the UK planning support must be readily received. Nigeria’s cautious advance on the estimated 200 heavily-armed Boko Haram militants to limit collateral damages is intelligible. But Africa must heed counsel for quick action from former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, support Nigeria to put more boots on the tough terrain, pursue and vanquish the highly mobile Boko Haram terrorists and free the girls.

Africa must pursue a concerted war against Boko Haram to break its links with other jihadi cells, including al-Shabaab in Somalia and al-Qaeda militants in the Sahel and Maghreb regions. Nigeria requires the extra offers from China, and France to strengthen its hands against Boko Haram militants in their efforts to rescue the girls.

Let’s all be angry at the abduction of the young schoolgirls of Chibok. We should not remain silent. Let’s stop Boko Haram, free the girls, and bring them back home.