U.S. response to the abduction of the Nigerian girls

The abduction of more than 200 young Nigerian girls, most of them Christian, from the Government Secondary boarding school in Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram on the 14th of April this year, has led to an increase in social media activism. On May 9th, due to the strong social pressure, the U.S.A. sent a group of 16 military personnel from U.S Africa Command to join an interdisciplinary team working from the U.S. embassy in Abuja to try and help the Nigerian government forces to free the schoolgirls.


Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the terrorist group, claimed that he will sell the girls as God had instructed him. Moreover, he considers that the girls shouldn’t have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married. Those girls were considered to receive a western education, this, in addition to their religious beliefs led to their abduction by this terrorist group whose name can be translated as “non-Islamic education is a sin”.


The role of the U.S.A. is of key importance in the international arena. On May 9th, the U.S. decided to send help to the Nigerian government in order to free the innocent girls. “The main role of this interdisciplinary group is to assess the situation, advise and assist the Nigerian government in their efforts to respond to the crisis situation and find the young women kidnapped by Boko Haram”- Army Colonel Steve Warren explained. According to the Pentagon, the members of the team sent to Nigeria are specialized in communications, logistics, civil affairs, operations and intelligence.


American citizens have asked the U.S. army to step into the problem using several campaigns in the social media. World-known personalities such as The First Lady of the U.S.A., Michele Obama, Amy Phoeler, Angelina Jolie, Malala Yousafzai or Hilary Clinton have raised their awareness and joined the social media campaign “Bring Back Our Girls” that urges for a military intervention in order to rescue the schoolgirls in the African country. According to Topsy, a site that offers Twitter analytics, thousands of tweets using (hash)BringBackOurGirls are being posted everyday. This shows the level of concern of the whole international community, not just Americans. Furthermore, on the 10th of May (Mother’s Day) Michelle Obama gave a speech to campaign for the girl’s release. It is very unusual for a First Lady to address national policy issues on her own. She said she and his husband Barack Obama were heartbroken over the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls.


Apart from the U.S. intervention, other countries have offered their help to the Nigerian government. The United Kingdom, France, China, Canada, Spain, Cameroon and Chad, among some others, have compromised to share valuable information and send skilled teams to the field. At the international level, the members of the U.N. Security Council expressed outrage over the abductions stating that appropriate measures against Boko Haram will be taken.


All in all, the public opinion is shocked by these terrorist acts and the U.S.A. seems to be trying to help liberate the girls from their abductors. As Obama said: “We’re going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them. In the short term our goal is obviously is to help the international community, and the Nigerian government, as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies”.


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