Where are our daughters?
It has been four years since terror has been going on unchecked in Nigeria. The bombing of Nyanya was reviewed by Brian Michael Jenkins and Bruce R. Butterworth, the terrorism experts from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), as being “the fifth worst episode of such explosives attack in any nation across the entire world since 1970”. The abduction of 234 girls is another event on the list of similar acts of terror across the Nigerian state. The incompetence and perceived lack of interest of the current administration in handling this epic crisis is not debatable as the lack of direction where this case is concerned is clear.
The story of the abduction of over 200 girls from Government Girls School in Chibok, Borno state, Nigeria is one that has concerns pouring in from all corners of Africa and the rest of the world. The perceived delay in tactical rescue of these girls, the cloudy misinformation surrounding how many girls were taken and how many have supposedly escaped contributes to the rising fear and rile of Nigerians.
Women groups have pleaded and protested and more still plan to join the protest. Social media is agog with the campaign “#BringBackOurGirls #WhereAreOurDaughters which has also been picked up by the international media. Youths in Nigeria are working towards organizing a march to protest in Abuja while so many young people have promised to head to the conflict zone and join the effort to rescue these girls while sacrificing themselves to sack the terrorists out of their comfortable camps.
Nigerians have been kept in the dark about what the true situation in Sambisa and other forests in Borno are. Families who ventured into this forest along with paid vigilantes in pursuit of the kidnapped girls were turned back by a “good samaritan” -who was doing this in their best interest- when they approached the terrorist camps. The families reported that what they saw was“serious”, but they refused to give details because of fear of their own security.
Inside the Sambisa Game Reserve, the terrorists live normal lives. Boko Haram camps in Sambisa are in plain sight almost as if the terrorists have nothing to fear. The camp houses these terrorists and their abducted families and people who live in these camps are in their thousands. Women were seen in the camps, including hundreds of women who have been abducted over a couple of years.
The camps are powered by generators, which provide an independent source of power to these families. Fridges, welding machines and all other household machinery and types of technical equipment are scattered all across the camp. According to eyewitness reports, hundreds to thousands of motorcycles and about 50 cars of different types were seen in the camp. Choppers fly in to these camps regularly dropping fast food snacks: chicken, burgers and things, bought from the Borno metropolis. The situation is the same with camps in other forests like Banki and Buniyadi, also in Borno state.
A US-based StrategyPage report presented that Boko Haram terrorists are so wealthy; they have actually bought government and security officials over. The source of Boko Haram funding has never been clear. A report by the BBC revealed that Boko Haram pays $3000 to purchase mercenary recruits from neighbouring countries like Niger. Boko Haram invests way more than Nigeria does in equipping and boosting the morale of its army. Boko Haram is a well functioning institution that pays loads of cash to purchase a foothold at all levels of society.
According to military sources, Nigerian soldiers have been deserting the army because of increasing fears of impending war. The frustration when they realize there is no honest intention to combat the terrorists whose locations are known and are left to operate freely leads them to abandon their uniforms.
Our army cannot capture Sambisa. They have no directives on engaging Boko Haram with any determination to win this war against terrorism.
The parents, in die anguish, have vowed and dared venture again into the forests to rescue their wards. As it is becoming apparent that the nation they rely on to protect their children has failed and will continue to fail them in this regard.
When they asked if the military would engage the terrorists, the army commanders responded, “We were given no such directive.” For them it was just another regular day, another month in another year, scouting the Boko Haram ‘barracks.’ For these parents, time is running out, as the fate of their daughters in the hands of these elite terrorists remains unclear.