Last week, headlines were dominated by the terrorist attacks in France. It’s easy to understand the gravity of the news and why it garnered so much attention. France is a peaceful Western nation, and one that has longed opposed the United States and its War on Terror in the Middle East. Further, the attack was as much an assault on free speech as it was on people.
And yet despite the undeniable importance of the attack in France it wasn’t the only major mass murder to take place last week. You wouldn’t know it based on the media coverage, but Boko Haram is in the midst of one of its most aggressive stages of expansion in its short but furious history, and is rapidly seizing territory in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram is slowly but steadily emerging as the West African version of the Islamic State, and yet it gets far less attention by the main stream media. And while hundreds of thousands of people floods the streets of Paris to make their stand against militant Islam, militant Islamists are gaining ground across West Africa.
Boko Haram: Thousands Likely Killed Over Past Few Weeks
On January 3rd Boko Haram launched a daring attack against a forward military base near the village of Baga. The military base was supposed to be part of the front line of the military force that was supposed to be bringing the war directly to the militant group. In short order, however, the resident military forces were defeated.
Over the next few days the group massacred as many as 2,000 people in the nearby town of Baga and the surrounding bush lands. The death toll has yet to be confirmed but eye witness reports indicate that the killings were wide spread and that bodies literally littered the region. The attack marked the most brutal attack of Boko Haram’s history.
Meanwhile, neither world governments nor the Nigerian government is doing much to contain the situation. The Nigerian government has dedicated some resources to battling Boko Haram, but most of the attacks are taking place in the hinterlands and far from most of the major cities, which are still firmly under government control.
And while the United States and others have been quick to shower attention and pump resources to battle militant groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere across the Middle Easy and South Asia, the purse strings and spot light seem far more fickle when it comes to Nigeria.
“Never again.” Those few simple words summed up the feelings and statements of many world leaders in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Never again. Never again would the world stand by and watch as people were butchered with acts of genocide. Of course, it’s a lot easier to mutter statements than it is to actually live by them.