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Boko Haram Tag

The #BringBackOurGirls hashtivism trend may not have saved the almost 300 young women who were kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this year, but it did force the world to focus its attention on Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group responsible for the kidnappings. It's time to bring that attention back. Most of the media's coverage of Boko Haram has focused either on the kidnappings, or on the scrappy, regional nature of the group's quest for self-determination as a nation of Islam. The problem with this is that while the west has been busy forgetting to pay attention to the almost 200 girls who are still missing, Boko Haram has been growing. From the Associated Press:
In Niger, the government has declared a "humanitarian crisis" and appealed for international aid to help tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees driven from their homes by the insurgency. These recent events show how neighboring countries are increasingly being drawn into Nigeria's Islamic uprising. Thousands of people have been killed in Nigeria's 5-year insurgency and some 1.6 million people driven from their homes. "We are concerned about the increasing regionalization of Boko Haram," said Comfort Ero, Africa director for the International Crisis Group. On Sunday, Cameroon's army announced it had broken up a Boko Haram training camp in the Mayo-Danay district in the country's Far North region. The army was looking for other hideouts in the area, said Jean-Pierre Mbida, a soldier with the Rapid Intervention Battalion tasked with fighting the insurgents. "We will continue monitoring the area in the hope of uncovering any other Boko Haram hideouts and training grounds," he added.
Boko Haram is pulling fighters from Niger, Chad, and Cameroon into Nigeria, and has also managed to gain control of previously free areas in Niger. The general territory Boko Haram runs in is poor, and largely ignored by the government, making it easy for them to implement their alternative-authority structure over an even less-than-willing population.

Earlier this year "#BringBackOurGirls" rose, trended, then fizzled on Twitter; but recent negotiations between the Nigerian government and Islamist group Boko Haram might lead to the release of the 200 schoolgirl hostages whose plight inspired the hashtag. Designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2013, Boko Haram began its mission of violence in 2009 with the goal of overthrowing the Nigerian government and creating an Islamic state. Now, after five years and thousands dead, a cease fire has reportedly been reached. Via Bloomberg:
“A cease-fire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Jamatu Ahlis Sunna Li Daawa Wal Jihad,” Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said yesterday in an e-mailed statement, referring to Boko Haram. “I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development.” ... Boko Haram said “the schoolgirls and other people in their captivity are alive and well,” Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri said in a separate statement from Abuja, the capital.
Reuters reports:
Nigeria's armed forces chief Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh announced the ceasefire on Friday. On Saturday, two senior government sources said it aims to secure the girls' release as early as Monday or Tuesday, although they declined to give further details.

A few months ago, social media was buzzing with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Meant to raise awareness of the tragic situation in Nigeria where over 200 young girls were kidnapped by an Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, #BringBackOurGirls garnered international attention. The New York Times reported in May:

That was April 15 in northern Nigeria. The girls were kidnapped by an extremist Muslim group called Boko Haram, whose name in the Hausa language means “Western education is a sin.

These girls, ages 15 to 18 and Christians and Muslims alike, knew the risks of seeking an education, and schools in the area had closed in March for fear of terror attacks. But this school had reopened so that the girls — the stars of their families and villages — could take their final exams. They were expected to move on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers.

Instead, they reportedly are being auctioned off for $12 each to become “wives” of militants. About 50 girls escaped, but the police say that 276 are still missing — and the Nigerian government has done next to nothing to recover the girls.

People took to Twitter with the hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls, the first lady joined in and then nothing happened. Months later and still... nothing. This video report is from July 7: