Chibok schoolgirls abducted three years ago (April 14) - Nigeria should show more effort to free the girls

The sale of US combat aircraft to Nigeria causes concerns: More respect for the civilian population (Press Release)

Three years after the abduction of the Chibok girls: Nigeria should show more efforts to free them. Photo: Michael Fleshman via Flickr

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for more effort to free them. 195 of the 219 girls and young women who were abducted by the Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram on April 14, 2014, are still missing. The STP also demanded more respect for civilian population in the struggle against Boko Haram – as well as sustainable measures against the causes of violence. “The terrible fate of the Chibok girls is symptomatic for the situation of the entire civilian population in northeastern Nigeria, which is being crushed between Boko Haram’s terror and the countermeasures of the armed forces. Also, the terrorists continue to capture civilians – most recently, in the beginning of April, 22 more girls and women,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Africa expert, in Göttingen on Wednesday. “The fact that it is still possible to abduct women from villages near Chibok is a clear sign that Nigeria’s strategy will not lead to lasting peace.”

The STP is concerned about the fact that the US government signed off on selling up to twelve A-29 Super Tucano combat aircraft to Nigeria on Tuesday. They are to be used in the fight against Boko Haram. “With these new combat aircraft, the Nigerian Air Force will be even more focused on land bombardment of regions and villages where Boko-Haram fighters are suspected. This is a great danger for all those who were dragged off by the terrorist group, as well as for the civilian population living in their sphere of influence,” Delius warned.

The controversial aircraft deal had been suspended by the Obama administration after, in January 2017, the Nigerian Air Force had inadvertently attacked a refugee camp in which relief supplies had been distributed at that moment. More than 90 civilians had lost their lives in the attack. According to Nigeria’s air force, more than 2,100 air raids against Boko Haram were carried out in 2016. For years, human rights organizations have been accusing the Nigerian army of not doing enough to protect the civilian population in the struggle against the terrorist group.

In October 2016, following negotiations, Boko Haram had released 21 Of the 219 schoolchildren who had been kidnapped in Chibok. To this day, the Nigerian authorities have been keeping them in a secret place – allegedly in order to avoid another spectacular abduction. The STP, however, is of the opinion that the schoolgirls are being punished once again. Thus, the human rights organization demands them to be released immediately.

Header Photo: Michael Fleshman via Flickr