Boko Haram Just Kidnapped Another 100 Women and Children — and Nobody Cares

Boko Haram Just Kidnapped Another 100 Women and Children — and Nobody Cares
Source: AP
Source: AP

So much for #BringBackOurGirls.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people during a Sunday raid on the remote northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, a security source told Reuters on Thursday.

This is potentially the largest kidnapping of Nigerian civilians since the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in April sparked international outrage. Most of the girls are still missing, despite the international outrage that prompted President Barack Obama to send a U.S. military task force to search for the girls in May. 

The Nigerian government claimed in October that it had struck a deal with Boko Haram for the release of the kidnapped girls, but the militant group backtracked. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau taunted the international community in a November video message: "If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you to die from grief. ... The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off."

Source: AP

"Long forgotten": Sadly, Shekau's not wrong. Despite a burst of outrage and intense social media campaign designed to raise awareness around the militant group activities, there's been little progress on retrieving hostages kidnapped by Boko Haram. The BBC notes that, despite military assistance from countries like China, France, the U.K. and the U.S., the Chibok schoolgirls haven't been rescued. Human Rights Watch reports that Boko Haram has killed upward of 2,000 people in Nigeria in 2014 alone.

Despite the burst of attention centered on the #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign in April, the international community has reverted back to its original state: not really giving a shit.

Google search volume for 'Boko Haram' in 2014.
Source: Google Trends

This apathy is bad news for Boko Haram's victims, especially since Nigeria's military has proved ineffective at combatting the militant group. BBC Lagos, Nigeria, correspondent Will Ross argues that the latest round of kidnappings are "another example of just how ... the military has not been able to offer sufficient protection, despite promises of a massive deployment of soldiers supported by the air force."

The BBC also reports that the military "has had problems of indiscipline amid reports of soldiers being poorly equipped." On Wednesday, a Nigerian court martial even handed death sentences to 54 soldiers who refused to take part in an operation last August to recapture three towns overrun by the Boko Haram.

The Chibok schoolgirls are still missing, and more innocent civilians will disappear in the coming months. But don't expect the international community to care: Without a pithy hashtag and celebrity endorsements, those missing women and children will remain statistics in a failed war against terrorism.