kidnap schoolgirls

Really Happening

Detail of image by Pius Utomi Ekpei

Three depressing paragraphs from Zack Beauchamp of Vox:

One of Boko Haram’s central grievances with the “fake Muslims” who currently run their country is Nigeria’s secular education system. The name Boko Haram, translated from Hausa, is often translated as “Western education is forbidden.” But more precisely, it means “Western culture is Islamically forbidden,” underscoring that Boko Haram’s campaign against schooling is only part of its broader crusade against non-Islamic influences on Nigerian society.

So it makes sense that they’d target a girl’s school. Still, why kidnap the girls?

“Their goal is almost certainly to ransom [the girls],” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies who follows Boko Haram, told me. “Otherwise, they have chosen a target that will make everybody hate them. Killing [100] schoolgirls would be a huge PR hit even for some of the rougher jihadist groups.”

Apparently, the group is known for this sort of stunt. And, yes, this really is happening.

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Beauchamp, Zack. “A Nigerian terrorist group just kidnapped 100 girls to keep them from going to school”. Vox. April 15, 2014.

Image credit: Detail of image by Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/Getty).