Mr. President, it’s Time to Pull Some of Those Drones Out of Yemen and Use Them to Help Find the Kidnapped Girls in Nigeria

Protesters in a "million-woman march" on Wednesday, April 30, in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, highlight the government's failure to rescue scores of girls who were kidnapped from their school in Chibok in mid-April. Militants seized about 230 girls in the dead of night at a high school in the nation's far northeast, a hotbed for Islamist group Boko Haram.
Protesters in a “million-woman march” on Wednesday, April 30, in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, highlight the government’s failure to rescue scores of girls who were kidnapped from their school in Chibok in mid-April. Militants seized about 230 girls in the dead of night at a high school in the nation’s far northeast, a hotbed for Islamist group Boko Haram.

If it had happened anywhere else, this would be the world’s biggest story.

More than 230 girls disappeared, captured by members of a brutal terrorist group in the dead of night. Their parents are desperate and anguished, angry that their government is not doing enough. The rest of the world is paying little attention.

The tragedy is unfolding in Nigeria, where members of the ultra-radical Islamist group Boko Haram grabbed the girls, most believed to be between 16 and 18, from their dormitories in the middle of the night in mid-April and took them deep into the jungle. A few dozen of the students managed to escape and tell their story. The others have vanished. (Roughly 200 girls remain missing.)

The latest reports from people living in the forest say Boko Haram fighters are sharing the girls, conducting mass marriages, selling them each for $12. One community elder explained the practice as “a medieval kind of slavery.”

While much of the world has been consumed with other stories, notably the missing Malaysian plane, the relatives of the kidnapped girls in the small town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria have struggled for weeks with no resources to help them. The Nigerian government allayed international concerns when it reported — incorrectly — that it had rescued most of the girls. But the girls were still in captivity. Their parents raised money to arrange private expeditions into the jungle. They found villagers who had seen the hostages with heavily armed men.

Relatives are holding street protests to demand more help from the government. With a social media push, including a Twitter  #BringBackOurGirls campaign, they are seeking help anywhere they can find it.

Nigerians demand government do more to save abducted girls

It’s hard to imagine a more compelling, dramatic, heartbreaking story. And this is not a one-off event. This tragedy is driven by forces that will grow stronger and deadlier if the captors manage to succeed.

I think of these girls as trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building. Their mothers and fathers try to dig them out with their bare hands, while the men who brought down the building vow to blow up others. Everyone else walks by, with barely a second glance.

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SOURCE: Frida Ghitis
CNN

Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of “The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television.” Follow her on Twitter@FridaGhitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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