The question of massive abductions by notorious Nigerian group Boko Haram is nothing new in the media. To recap some crucial events, a New York-based Human Rights Watch approximates that the militant group abducted about 500 women and girls from Northern Nigeria since 2009. Earlier in 2014, the group kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok located northeast of the country. The mass kidnapping sparked an international outrage and ignited a viral social media campaign hashtag #bringbackourgirls. According to Human Rights Watch, 12 girls escaped and 219 are still missing.
As President Muhammadu Buhari marks his first year in office, the world is receiving news of 236 captives freed by the army including 131 children. In a statement, Army spokesman Sani Usman reports that, captives are undergoing screening to certify they are not members of Boko Haram before they are moved to camps for internally displaced persons. In this rescue operation, the Army spokesman testified that, the security forces killed five suspected insurgents.
Troubled South Campaigning for independence
Nigeria continue to be haunted by a 30-month civil war that happened from 1967 to 1970 when the oil-rich South-eastern region attempted to split and establish the independent state of Biafra. Also, an escalation of the war happened in 1966 mostly by ethnic Igbo officers against a government controlled by northern Muslims. Approximately three million people are believed to have died in the war.
Likewise, there have been recent revenge attacks groups including IPOB and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra that campaigns for the region’s independence after President Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, who won presidential elections in 2015. Deepened violence has been witnessed after Buhari began a crackdown on rampant corruption and theft in the oil sector. In January, multi-million-dollar corruption charges were brought brought against Government Ekpemupolo, a former rebel leader nicknamed Tompolo. He is accused of swindling the government of some $225 million. Rebels from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have in the recent past staged attack on oil, gas facilities and pipelines, leading to poor supply of electricity and energy throughout the country.
The political turmoil is complex as the Africa’s most populous country is grappling with an economy faced by falling oil prices. This economic state is now stimulating an upsurge of violence in other parts of the country that had been peaceful.
Boko Haram a pro-autonomy group campaigning for independence in the country’s southeast, has been fighting since 2009 to impose its own style of Islamic law in Nigeria.