Islamic Militants Seize Over 200 Girls To Be Sold Into Slavery . . . The Nigerian First Lady Reportedly Orders Arrest Of The Woman Leading Protests For The Girls

Screengrab from video obtained by AFP of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

We have discussed the almost weekly race to the bottom by Islamic extremists who use their faith to justify the most despicable and inhumane acts. However, few can match the atrocities of Boko Haram (“Western education is sinful”) — more properly known as The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. This Islamic movement in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002 and has made murder and church bombings its special signature of faith. However, even the piles of thousands of corpses killed in the name of Allah did not prepare the world for the latest atrocity: the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls and an announcement from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau that “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah.” Reports indicate that many of the girls have been “married” to Boko Haram soldiers. Nigerians are complaining that the government (which receives enormous U.S. and foreign aid) is not working particularly hard to free the girls. President Goodluck Jonathan described the detention as “unfortunate” and “insensitive”. His wife proved more direct. Mrs. Jonathan has reportedly ordered the arrest of Naomi Mutah, a representative of the Chibok community where the girls were seized from their school. So 200 girls are abducted to be sold into slavery by a fanatical Islamic movement and the wife of the president has the woman leading protests arrested.

Last month, the fanatics overpowered guards at a school and forced the girls out of bed and into trucks. Some 276 were kidnapped and at least 53 escaped. That left 223 in captivity. Mutah and others started a campaign to force action from the government.

Reports indicate that First Lady Patience Jonathan felt slighted that the mothers of the abducted girls had sent Ms. Mutah to the meeting. The First Lady appears to have no authority to order such an arrest but that does not appear to matter in Nigeria.

For his part, the devout man promising to sell girls into slavery is captured on a video coldly describing how “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.” The State Department believes that he means it and that the girls could well disappear into Nigeria’s “market.”

Even if one accepts the statements of the government that they are trying to find the girls, the actions of the First Lady are an outrage. At some point, the United States has to tie foreign aid to basic values protecting women and the rule of law. Nigeria is breathtakingly corrupt. We have seen around the world how such corruption invites extremists to take hold and offer Sharia law as the answer to endemic problems of local governments. We seen to be sustaining such corruption from Iraq to Afghanistan to Nigeria while increasing drone attacks against insurgents fighting these governments. It has not proven a winning strategy but we do not seem to have a plan B. We gave some $625 million to the country in 2012. In the meantime, girls are denied their most basic right to education and choice. U.S. dollars should go to those countries that commit themselves to basic values, including the rights of women and girls as well as protections for free speech and free exercise. The world is facing a deep divide between religious orthodoxy and individual rights. The West has to stop being apologetic for demanding that nations afford their citizens basic rights as a condition for support. At the moment, we are pouring billions into countries that continue to radicalize and organize against basic freedoms. At a minimum, we should put the emphasis on aid to educating girls and establishing free press and independent court systems. Obviously, this needs to include security protection for schools. I believe that the Obama Administration is targeting such programs but we clearly need to require more from recipient countries in terms of reforms. In the case of Nigeria, we might want to start with demanding reforms of the faux office of the First Lady.

Sources: BBC and CNN.

90 thoughts on “Islamic Militants Seize Over 200 Girls To Be Sold Into Slavery . . . The Nigerian First Lady Reportedly Orders Arrest Of The Woman Leading Protests For The Girls”

  1. Paul Schulte

    “We having been trying to rid this site of Wikipedia because it is so easily edited and open to flaw. Do you have another source for Christian terrorism?”

    Genetic fallacy. This particular Wikipedia page has many sources listed.

    I could list all the abortion clinic bombings, the killing of Dr. Tiller, etc.

    And there’s this:

    “In what Amnesty International is calling “ethnic cleansing,” Christian terror groups called the anti-balaka are targeting and attacking Muslims in the country of the Central African Republic. The terror groups also attacked a Muslim refugee camp established to house innocents fleeing from the violence.”

    If we’re going to label terrorists based on what religion they practice, then we should do it with all terrorists, not just Muslim ones.

    1. Supak – I think there is a civil war going on there and you would have to call them rival militia groups. I am not against calling Christian terrorist groups terrorists, but there is a common saying, One man’s terrorist is another man’s revolutionary. As we know from WWII refugee camps are a great place to hide (we found a lot of Nazis hiding there)

  2. “Islam is so violent that this Muslim had his head cut off by a Christian.” -David Mizner tweet

    “Muslim Man Is Beheaded in Central African Republic”

    APRIL 29, 2014

    “Christian militiamen decapitated a young Muslim man in the capital, Bangui, two days after peacekeepers escorted some of the last remaining Muslims from the city. Central African Republic’s conflict intensified in December when Christian militants known as anti-Balaka stormed the capital to overthrow the Muslim rebel government, which stepped down in January. Reprisal attacks on Muslim civilians accused of having collaborated with the rebels, known as Seleka, have continued despite the deployment of French and regional peacekeepers.”

    1. ap – do you remember the reprisals at the end of WWII. Would you call the people who strung up Mussolini Christian terrorists? Or the horrible things the French did to collaborators?

  3. May 6, 2014


    by Teju Cole

    There are vast distances between the cities. The terrain is varied. Forest gives way to savanna with scattered trees (shea, locust bean), and then to drier Sahel landscape. On these journeys one forgets city life, enters into something more delicate and more fragile.

    Girls walk by the side of the road, a cluster of bright patterns. Boys play in the dusty fields. Every now and again, a church flashes by, whitewashed or with a plain mud façade. Ways of life mix here in northern Nigeria; there are many Christians and Muslims, and many languages. “The Christian south,” it is often written, “the Muslim north,” but the country’s truth is coexistence. This is true of the so-called Middle Belt, and in Kaduna, and Jos, and, continuing in the northeast direction, beyond my journey, in Borno.

    In the town of Chibok, the girls, mostly sixteen or seventeen, had been cautious. They knew, as everyone did, that schools were being targeted. About forty boys had been killed at a school in Yobe last July. They’d been lined up in their dorms and shot. In the same state, twenty-nine others had died in February, their bodies burned, the culprits never found. And so the girls had come back to Chibok only for their exams—a quick, calculated risk before they returned home.

    Where are they now? The shock of a sudden captivity will have given way to other fears. There are more than two hundred of them, Muslim and Christian. Nigeria’s northeastern border is massive, porous. They don’t know when they crossed the border, or if they crossed the border. They could be in Niger, or Chad, or Cameroon (these three neighboring countries are impoverished states with weak security). The girls know only what their captors say. They have lost track of time. But they feel, in their bodies, the distances covered by the rumbling trucks. They cannot imagine what the world is thinking about them, or if it is.

    And what are they themselves thinking of, huddled in their dozens, warned to stay quiet? Not of the murders of Boko Haram’s founder and some of his followers by Nigeria police five years ago, which sparked the violent phase of the group’s campaign of terror. Not of the thousands killed during that campaign, in suicide bombs, attacks on churches, and shootings at restaurants, a frightening catalog of atrocities. Not of the global war on terrorism, nor of America’s strategic goals in that war. (Already, in Niger, a drone base is assembled; already American specialists are on their way to help the Nigerian government.) Not of Baga, some two hundred miles from Chibok, where last year government forces massacred two hundred civilians, nor of Maiduguri, where, in mid-March this year, more than five hundred men were executed on suspicion of being terrorists. Not of Abuja, where bombs now explode with unnerving frequency. Not of next year’s elections, which the President wants to win at all costs, nor of the corruption fueling his reëlection bid.

    They are not thinking of Twitter, where the captivity is the cause of the day, nor of the campaigns on the streets of Lagos for a more competent and less callous government, nor of the rallies in front of Nigeria’s embassies worldwide, nor of the suddenly ramped-up coverage by international media, nor of how this war will engulf even those who are only just beginning to hear about it, nor of those who, free for now, will someday become captives.

    They are perhaps thinking only that night is falling again, and that the men will come to each of them again, an unending horror.

    Teju Cole is a photographer, and the author of two works of fiction, “Open City” and “Every Day Is for the Thief.” He contributes frequently to Page-Turner.

  4. 1° Can drones be sent in Nigeria?
    2° Are we obligated to apply the Geneva Conventions toward Boko Haram members?

    1. We having been trying to rid this site of Wikipedia because it is so easily edited and open to flaw. Do you have another source for Christian terrorism?

    2. ” Can you provide examples of you labeling Christian Terrorists for the same reasons?”

      I think the relevant point is can we identify Christian terrorists where our understanding is enhanced by knowledge of their faith. Are there Christian terrorist who are motivated by their faith to act to defend their faith or act at the direction of recognized religious leaders?

      There is little doubt that there are many Christian terrorist.

      However I would argue their motivations are primarily economic or based on ethnic or other group hatred. The identification as Christian offers little insight for their actions.

      Is the group religious identification one fact among many that yields little additional understanding or is the group identification a key to understanding the warrior, his motives and what the battle is about?

      Klansman are clearly Christian. But their motives seem to flow from considerations of political power, economic position and race hatred. Certainly their personal faith must have been a resource for them. But I don’t see how the fact of their religious choice tells us much we don’t already know.

      In contrast I would argue that some of the actions of Al Qaeda are simply inexplicable without reference to their faith. For example, it is claimed that one motivation for Al Qaeda attacks was the presence of US forces on Saudi territory. How is it possible to understand that without understanding the view of Al Qaeda leaders which leads to their understanding of their religion?

      Religion seems largely irrelevant in the strategy to recruit new Klansman. In contrast, religion seems to be a key component in the recruitment strategy of Al Qaeda.

      I could go on. But I think you see the point. The religious reference for Al Qaeda is useful, for the Klan not so much.

      If you can think of a group of Christian terrorists where religion is crucial to understanding their activities but has been ignored or denied then I would be pleased to hear of it. Perhaps the IRA would be such an example. But it is not clear to me that the religious aspect there has been slighted. I would argue that the Catholic Protestant dimension to the Irish violence has been pretty well documented.

      At this point I think I will raise the question to you. If you believe that religion is a useful tool for understanding some Christian terrorist and has been ignored then help us. Identify that group. Let us know what we have been overlooking.

      Of course one point we ought to acknowledge is that the fact that many of today’s radicals are motivated by their religion does not imply that others of that faith are radical.

      It seems to me that the best evidence shows that the vast majority of Muslims want a peaceful world as much as anyone else. It is wrong to assume that the fact that many radicals are Muslim implies that many Muslims are radical. That characterization is unfair and the essence of religious bigotry.

  5. Paul Schulte
    “How could “Hope and Change” go wrong?”

    I hoped things would get better. They have.

    For example, I’ll be kind to George Bush for a second. I know, you’re shocked… But I’ll leave out the recession he inherited from Bill Clinton, and the Little Bush Depression he left for Obama. I’ll look at Bush’s NON-recession monthly job growth: 68,000.

    Obama’s is double that.

    Now that’s change I can believe in.

  6. The latest health news, if anyone is interested, is that all alcohol is unhealthy. Therefore I propose there is another religion – the bottle, the pills, the smoke. These are the people involved in this Nigerian child kidnappers – check it out !!!

  7. Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that the U.S. will send intelligence to Nigeria to help the Nigerians find the Nigerians. Egypt is considering executing by hanging some 400 Muslim Brothers and some people are saying nooooo. You have to kill Muslim extremists before they get extreme. So I say Hang em High. As to the Nigerian child kidnappers. They must have families. Go after their family members and kidnap them.

  8. KUDOs Charlie

    on making the point that we All have made many times before;
    but needed saying here.

    Blame not the group – for the actions of the groupee!

  9. Can we please stop calling extremists/terrorists “Islamic”? They are no more a part of Islam than I would be part of Christianity just because I shouted the name of Jesus while committing heinous crimes.

    1. “Can we please stop calling extremists/terrorists “Islamic”? They are no more a part of Islam than I would be part of Christianity just because I shouted the name of Jesus while committing heinous crimes.”

      I am not sure that is defensible. It seems to me there are two key questions: 1) do they think of themselves as Muslim and 2) do other Muslims accept them as Muslim?

      I don’t have any personal knowledge. But news reports that seem credible to me indicate that some of them believe not only that they are Muslim but also that they are acting at the direction of religious elders. In addition it is clear that at least some other Muslims accept them as Muslim.

      I don’t think that declining to describe radicals as Muslims leads to clarity. If the radical believes he is Muslim and acting in accordance with that faith then it seems to me an evasion to avoid dealing with that fact.

      I would argue that the only hope we have of resolving our differences is to clearly understand those with whom we have problems. If radicals believe they are acting according to their religious beliefs we need to understand that.

    2. Charlie – I am going to call them Islamic terrorist. Their key motive is defense of Islam and they create terror. Islamic terrorist is a perfect descriptor.

  10. Laser,
    That is an old Jerry Clower story. I ran into him all the time at the airport FBO when he was waiting for his plane to pick him up for his weekly trip to Nashville. He would hang out and tell stories to anyone who would hold still and listen. Probably one of the funniest–and most genuine–people I ever met.

    Here is Jerry himself telling the story.

  11. Paul,

    It can’t be wrong because it is a vague and ambiguous promise.

  12. If you have no other platform to stand on;

    then wrap yourself in an American flag – grab a bible and kiss babies.

    Promising them you will do all the good you can;
    because suckers will believe anything wrapped well.

  13. I hear you Theo. The problem with religion is, as with so many things, it can easily be manipulated and used a platform to control others. I think that is why the nonsensical argument continues about creation versus evolution. I consider the argument a folly, and specifically one that does not advance the human condition. What it is–as what the basis of a knowledge relationship is generally speaking–is a power relationship. If creation is exactly as it is written, then truly God is omnipotent, and therefore what I (insert “speaker of the Word”) say has true authority, now follow my instruction…” and, as we see unfortunately time and time again, people do. Do people look for the breakdown in philosophy while professing the Word they bring to us? Not usually. This whole unfortunate event is just another example of the ability of people to find another low–and to justify it anyway they can. And as a general rule, the mob mentality usually fills in the blanks where there is a disconnect between the philosophical breakdown leading to right and wrong. Children, especially orphans, and women, were very, very important to Mohammed. Would Mohammed ask this kind of atrocity? I don’t think so. Would Jesus? I think not.

    It is amazing how much power just mentioning “I’m a Christian” carries in politics (and, I guess, whatever prevalent religious system is in your geolocation). And in the US now, strangely enough, there is a self-subscribing power behind, “I’m an athiest” as well. It seems more and more certain aspects of our population have granted themselves almost the power of god-like understanding while rejecting God. And these people fall into the same trap. They too seem to not have to answer to the rigor of sound philosophy they require of the religious. Are we disingenuous, or maybe we have lost our collective soul as a nation? As a nation, there seems to be no common path. I feel at this point it time, a complete turnaround cannot happen without cataclysmic events.

  14. The aim of all US foreign policy is obtainment and control of energy, extractive industries, and the power of other US corporate entities in nations around the world through antidemocratic surrogates through war, black ops, direct payments (bribes), regime change. This policy is also advanced at home through neoliberal austerity and corporate friendly legislation and tax policy by both parties. Our foreign policy and pronouncements on human rights and democracy are disingenuous. Our actual policies are right wing and antidemocratic in the case of both parties and pay lip service to the rights of women and girls. Under those circumstances, you wish the US to see that religion is kept out of government while religion has and is continuing to seep into government on a large scale through the actions of the Republican right in the states, at the federal level, and in the court system and aided by conservative Democrats, including Obama, either due to belief or surrender to the right wing? I believe it is naive at this point to believe it can happen without a large number of Americans understanding what is at stake and acting to change our policies so that our foreign policy and our domestic programming become pro democracy and collective in support of the common good. It would require a complete turnaround in public policy.

  15. I’m afraid, as Dredd has pointed out… and I have been seeing here and there as I nosed around about Ukraine a while back… we may not want to know the full deal over there. I don’t think we would be happy to find out who all the players are who are involved. Probably not surprised… just not happy. If I’ve learned anything in life, events are seldom as simple as first described.

  16. I agree with Justice Holmes’ comment up there at 1:42 a.m. I also agree with his decision in Buck v. Bell. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. But in this situation we must inquire as to who the imbeciles are. I think that Americans are imbeciles for providing “aid” to any foreign country. As to Nigeria. It is a classic Pirate Territory. Nigerians are one of the world’s largest scam artists on the internet. Nigeria: fly over and flush.

  17. Dan;

    I think progress (and Rodman) got a raw deal.

    It would have been wonderful for the world, Korea and the hope of progress against tyranny; for Rodman to simply get basketball going with N. Korea.

    As for my Bundy reflection….

    There’s an old country joke about a hunt;
    and the hunter climbing into the tree to chase the wildcat out.

    When the cat keeps attacking the hunter, he calls down to his friends;

    “Shoot! Shoot! For G-d’s sake – please shoot!”

    and they respond “but we might hit you instead”

    where he – in turn – responds

    “one way or the other – I get relief”

    N’est-ce pas!

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