Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The radical Islamist group Boko Haram isn't new. The group has been around for more than a decade and has waged a bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria for the past five years. But it has suddenly achieved international notoriety by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls who have now been missing for more than three weeks.

Read it allMother Jones has a helpful explanatory piece also that includes this:

Why did the foreign press decide to start paying attention now?

Part of the reason is the sheer scale of the kidnapping. According to the latest numbers, nearly 300 schoolgirls were abducted on April 15 from Chibok boarding school in the northern Nigerian state of Borno. Last year, Boko Haram abducted handfuls of children, as well as Christian women, whom the group converts to Islam and forces into marriage. The group attacked 50 schools last year too, killing more than 100 schoolchildren and 70 teachers. The number of kids taken during the raid on the Chibok school is staggering, however. "It is the largest number of children abducted in one swoop in the country," says Nnamdi Obasi, a senior Nigeria analyst for the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit conflict resolution organization. "Certainly not a minor incident that could be ignored."

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