Because, writes Max Fisher, “neither Boko Haram nor its kidnapping exist in a vacuum”:
There is the deep and growing economic and political marginalization of northern Nigerians, who happen to be mostly Muslim. There is the ever-worsening Nigerian government’s corruption and incompetence, which has included a military response to Boko Haram so heavy-handed and fumbled that it has killed and alienated a number of Nigerians who might otherwise be allies against the terrorist group. There are multiple, overlapping cycles of violence and distrust and resentment.
Then there was this:
Nigerian security forces, in their campaign against Boko Haram, have actually been detaining (some might say kidnapping) the family members of Boko Haram fighters since 2011. The family members, often women or girls, are not accused of crimes, but held for what appears to be simple leverage (some might say ransom). Of course this does not excuse Boko Haram for adopting the same tactic, but it helps shed some light on why the group might see this as a valid way to fight the government it so hates.
More than 200 of the girls remain missing, and while the Nigerian government has concluded an investigation into the incident, they won’t release its findings to the public. Meanwhile, Hayes Brown passes along the news of what looks like another mass kidnapping of women and children:
Militants reportedly attacked the village of Kummabza, located in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State, over the weekend, abducting more than 60 women and girls, as well as 30 boys. Local police have yet to confirm that the kidnappings took place and journalists have yet to independently verify the story on the ground. “Sources from the villages where the victims were taken, however, insisted that the victims included young girls and babies,” Nigeria’sPremium Times reported. Though no group has taken credit for the attack, fingers are being pointed at Boko Haram, the group who launched the kidnapping in neighboring Chibok in April.
As was the case in April, the lack of clarity on the ground and independent verification is leading to confusion over just who went missing and when.