On April 14th, More than 270 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency bent on establishing a separate Islamic state in northern Nigeria to be ruled by Sharia law. After more than 100 days in captivity, U.S. aircraft flying over remote areas in Northeast Nigeria and beyond have spotted several groups of girls, some of whom may be those abducted. Learn everything you need to know about Boko Haram’s heinous school girl abduction, here.
08/09/2014 Nigeria (Wall Street Journal) – Recent U.S. surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria showed what appeared to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations, raising hopes among domestic and foreign officials that they are among the group that Boko Haram abducted from a boarding school in April, U.S. and Nigerian officials said.
The surveillance suggests that at least some of the 219 schoolgirls still held captive haven’t been forced into marriage or sex slavery, as had been feared, but instead are being used as bargaining chips for the release of prisoners.
The U.S. aerial imagery matches what Nigerian officials say they hear from northern Nigerians who have interacted with the Islamist insurgency: that some of Boko Haram’s most famous set of captives are getting special treatment, compared with the hundreds of other girls the group is suspected to have kidnapped. Boko Haram appears to have seen the schoolgirls as of higher value, given the global attention paid to their plight, those officials said.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who faces re-election in February, is under political pressure to secure the girls’ release, with some people urging him to agree to a prisoner swap.
His government has ruled out a rescue operation, saying it is unwilling to risk the girls’ lives, or a prisoner swap.