CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 8, 2014 – As awareness of Boko Haram, the Islamic jihadist group in Nigeria, has finally resulted global outrage and condemnation, the Associated Press is reporting an attack on a crowded marketplace in the town of Gamboru Ngala that has killed an estimated 300 people.
Boko Haram, which roughly translates to mean “Western education is forbidden,” is responsible for the kidnapping of schoolgirls in mid-April who are now being threatened to be sold into slavery. While some of those girls did escape, more children were kidnapped this week.
The terrorist network has been active for about 10 years, but during that time it has become one of the most vicious jihadist movements in the world as it attempts to establish an Islamic state with the strictest elements of Sharia law within Africa’s most populated nation.
Though the extremist organization has been brutalizing citizens, burning churches and waging a campaign of genocide for years, the West is only now taking notice in the wake of the April kidnappings.
The most recent attack, which took place over a period of 12 hours as shoppers were gunned down in a marketplace and houses were burned, was confirmed by Mohammed Bulama, the Borno state information commissioner.
With the crisis escalating in Nigeria, offers of international assistance to search for the missing girls, who are believed to be scattered throughout the massive Sambisa Forest, have been pouring in from around the globe.
The latest killings which occurred on the border of Cameroon, serves to magnify the urgency of the epidemic situation in Nigeria.
According to reports, Nigeria has accepted offers of assistance from the Obama administration, Great Britain and China in the search for the kidnapped girls. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has announced that France is sending in a specialized team to help with the search.
The French have been fighting against Boko Haram’s extremists for nearly five years in Mali as well as Cameroon and Nigeria as their Islamic cancer has spread. With military personnel already in the region, France is able to respond quickly.
Currently there is a now viral internet campaign underway to “#BringBackOurGirls” in Nigeria.
The homegrown jihadists have been responsible for killing thousands of Christians, as well as Muslims, including as many as 1,500 this year alone. Muslims will kill other Muslims if they are deemed not to be true believers of the faith.
Until recently, Boko Haram had largely been operating in the northern part of Nigeria, but, with the aid of al-Qaeda since 2010, they have been able to attend training camps in southern Somalia.
Elizabeth Donnelly, Nigeria’s representative at Chatham House, a London-based institute on international affairs, said that with the increase in Boko Haram’s violent activities, “now basically anybody is a target.”
One major concern with the rescue effort is the operational logistics to make every effort to ensure the safety of the girls. Boko Haram has no qualms about killing their innocent victims if they believe it is necessary to do so.
Long overdue as it may be, now that the world has realized the magnitude of the commitment by extremist organizations such as Boko Haram to establish the goals of Islam as the dominant world religion, it may finally, and hopefully, lead to greater awareness and action that will halt the spread of Islamic terrorism.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod