Kidnap crisis deepens

Boko Haram

Boko Haram

ABUJA/KANO. — Two months since the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, the teenagers appear no nearer being found and freed, despite international support and media attention.As interest in the girls’ plight tails off after a viral social media campaign and street protests, Nigeria’s government is facing mounting pressure over its failure to stop Boko Haram’s relentless violence.

On the streets, ordinary Nigerians — awakened to the wider Boko Haram insurgency because of the abduction — have begun expressing doubts about their leaders’ ability to end the bloodshed.

Nigeria’s media had previously relegated Boko Haram down the news agenda but its activities began moving to the front page even before the mass kidnapping on April 14.
Nduka Obaigbena, head of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, said the turning point was an attack on a boarding school in February, when more than 40 boys were slaughtered in their sleep.

“Certainly, it (the girls’ abduction) brought home the crisis of terrorism and continuing killing,” he told AFP.

“We were optimistic that they (the girls) were alive but right now that hope is fading . . . because the government and the international community seem powerless.

“There are no reports of any negotiations… There’s been nothing really.”

Nigeria’s military last week began seizing and searching newspaper deliveries on unspecified security grounds after increasing media criticism of the counter-insurgency effort.

One daily likened the action to the days of military rule while the Nigerian Press Organisation called it an affront to free speech.

The police in Abuja have also tried to block further marches by the Bring Back Our Girls group, whose supporters have demonstrated in the capital almost daily.

One of the group’s lawyers, Femi Falana, said they were undeterred and the protests would continue pending the outcome of a legal challenge to a ban, which sparked widespread condemnation. — AFP.

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