News / Africa

Official: Nigeria 'Moving Closer' to Finding Girls

Activists pressure Nigeria's government to find schoolgirls abducted in April. The Bring Back Our Girls initiative sponsored a rally in Lagos July 5, 2014.
Activists pressure Nigeria's government to find schoolgirls abducted in April. The Bring Back Our Girls initiative sponsored a rally in Lagos July 5, 2014.
Heather Murdock

After several arrests and reported victories against Boko Haram militants, the Nigerian military says it is "moving closer"’ to rescuing the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April.  But critics are skeptical, saying the government is under enormous pressure to demonstrate action and that military might alone will not end the insurgency.

If fighting insurgents was a sport, the Nigerian government would appear to be on a winning streak.

Nigeria's military says in recent days its fight against Boko Haram insurgents has gained momentum, after forces “completely rooted out” militants from some forest areas in the northeast.
 

Young men described as foreign fighters are seen after being captured by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)Young men described as foreign fighters are seen after being captured by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)
x
Young men described as foreign fighters are seen after being captured by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)
Young men described as foreign fighters are seen after being captured by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)

Nigeria National Information Center Coordinator Mike Omeri says President Goodluck Jonathan is doing everything he can to save the kidnapped girls, and recent arrests have brought the military closer to a rescue.
 
“He is working seriously to ensure the rescue and safety of those children.  He is also working hard to ensure that peace returns to all parts of this country,” he said.

The military reports arresting, among others, one of the masterminds of the abduction, recruiters for the newly-identified female wing of Boko Haram, and two foreign mercenaries.  The military also reports killing at least 97 terrorists and losing 12 soldiers, including an officer.  
 
Omeri says vigilante groups and average citizens are partially responsible for the recent success.
 
“Citizens have joined in the call from the president to intensify effort at finding a solution to the issue of insecurity in the northeast, particularly with reference to the rescue of our girls,” he said.

But in the past week, the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations reports insurgents have killed at least 134 people.  Also, more than 60 women, who were kidnapped in mid-June, escaped Boko Haram on their own.
 
Critics say the wave of reported military activity could simply be posturing in response to local and international pressure to show they are doing what they can to save the girls.
 

Ammunition seized by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)Ammunition seized by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)
x
Ammunition seized by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)
Ammunition seized by the Nigerian military during an operation in Balmo forest. (Nigerian Ministry of Defense)

“Government are only beating about the bush," said  
Pastor Yohanna Buru, who heads the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria. "I know why I am saying this, because they tried it the other way wrong and now we are seeing the repercussion.”

Buru calls for peace talks, saying battling Boko Haram with military power alone simply increases the body count without addressing the problem.  He says northeastern Nigeria, where the insurgency began five years ago, is a region packed with unemployed, impoverished angry young people who feel their government has long abandoned them.
 
Ultimately, Buru says, neither the government nor the insurgents will ever truly "win" the fight.  With thousands of people killed this year alone, northeastern Nigeria’s economy and infrastructure in shambles, and hundreds of schoolchildren missing and hundreds more dead - in the end, he says, everyone loses.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: babalola biodun from: Lagos, Nigeria
July 09, 2014 1:18 AM
In any societ, it is very hard for any sect to defeat government. With intellectual plan, Nigeria will defeat boko haram, it just a matter of time.

by: Valentine from: Lagos.
July 08, 2014 7:28 PM
Pastor Buru has just forgotten that the government that abandoned the northern people were the northern presidents, starting from Tafawa Beluwa to Shagari to Buhari to Babangida to Abacha to Abdusalam Abubaka to Yaradua. All came from the north. During their tenure,they were very busy stealing money and packing them in banks at both home and abroad.
The present government has done more developmental projects than all the northern government put together and Mr Jonathan has helped in education of the popular northern bergers called Almajiri more than all the northern past presidents of Nigeria put together.
The northers are just doing all they can humanly to rubbish his government just because he is favouring their corrupt ways.

by: demian from: port harcourt
July 08, 2014 4:15 PM
Today Nigeria is a failure in all ramification not only in sport.A failed STATE.

by: Erik P from: Lisbon
July 08, 2014 1:46 PM
Not everyone looses. Those in government get a healthy pay packet and are protected, so they retire with a nice pension and can forget about the problems of the country. Isn't that what politics is for in Nigeria?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More