Almost six weeks after nearly 300 girls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Nigerian defense chief believes the girls have been located. Despite this breakthrough, the Nigerian government seems reluctant to use military force to free the girls.
Air Marshal Alex Barde told demonstrators supporting the country's much criticized military on Monday that Nigerian troops can save the girls. But he added, "we can't go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back."
The subject of an international outrage—one that started nearly a month after the initial abduction and an outrage that is not without its flaws—the kidnapping of the girls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria has put immense pressure on the Nigerian government to act decisively.
However, the sincerity of the Nigerian government in its willingness to confront Boko Haram, which is angling to establish an Islamic state in the religiously-diverse country, has long been met with skepticism by the international community. It ultimately took consider twisting to get Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to accept outside help in the effort to rescue the girls. That skepticism hasn't seemed to abate:
Earlier today, there were murmurs of a possible deal to release some of the girls in exchange for a prisoner release. The government apparently called the deal off.
Since the abduction, nearly 500 civilians have reportedly been killed by Boko Haram.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.