They are still missing. #BringBackOurGirls was pleaded from the United Nations to the red carpet, from Michelle Obama to the Pope, but the Twitter activism and all the attention it garnered didn’t help. If anything, Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped and enslaved 276 young women in Nigeria 10 months ago, has only gotten stronger. Nigeria’s elections, originally scheduled for Feb. 14, were postponed until March 28, ostensibly to give President Goodluck Jonathan’s government time to improve security. But the delay was met with allegations of political interference, as Jonathan is in a tight race against opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the northeastern region where Boko Haram is strongest. Denying the inference, Jonathan vowed in a CNN interview that there would be “serious advancements” against the terrorist group. But how will six weeks help?
On Friday, 158 woman and children who were abducted in December from Yobe State were reportedly reunited with their families, although there was some dispute as to how they gained their freedom.
On Wednesday, the military said hundreds of militants had been killed and 11 villages recaptured. But it is difficult to verify the military’s claims and, as Reuters noted in its report, “Nigerian forces have in the past been accused of overstating enemy casualties while greatly understating their own and those of civilians caught in the crossfire.”
Boko Haram’s rise to power, from a small group of disenfranchised Muslim men from Nigeria’s north to one of the most virulent terrorist groups today, began in 2009 but has accelerated dramatically.