Boko Haram

France denies complicity

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The French embassy in Cameroon has denied any secret activity against Cameroon in its declared war against Nigerian Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, following media reports in the neighbouring country, the embassy condemned attacks by the terrorist militants in northern Cameroon, near the Nigerian border.

France restated its solidarity with the Cameroonian authorities in the fight against the insurgents from Nigeria, African Press Agency reported.

The French government also paid tribute to Cameroonian soldiers killed in combat against Islamist insurgents and “mourned with families of civilian victims and soldiers fighting against terrorism”.

The embassy, contrary to some Cameroonian media assertions which alluded to some behind-the-scene negotiations with Boko Haram, said President François Hollande had not met with Cameroonian officials during his July visit to Chad. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Lost Girls

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Over the last week or so, multiple stories in the news have been asking why the media is ignoring the kidnapping of more than 200 girls (some reports say as many as 276) by Boko Haram, an extremist anti-Western group in Nigeria. Yet there have been literally hundreds of Facebook posts, thousands of tweets, and dozens of stories in the media about what is going on. It took a week or two — longer than it should have, yes, considering the horror of what has been perpetrated — but in the end, this case has gotten more attention than any single case of girls abducted in armed conflict in recent memory, possibly ever. People are paying attention.

As that becomes evident, all the outcry over “why aren’t we paying attention” starts to look like it’s part of a deeper public distress: Why have we not paid attention in the past when thousands of girls — and boys — have been abducted in armed conflict? Why aren’t we paying attention, right now, to the girls caught in human trafficking webs or sold into early marriages or held in captivity as “wives” by armed groups? Why are we only now outraged? And will this outrage sustain itself as situations like this one unendingly arise? Will any amount of anger lead to any concrete solution? Read the rest of this entry »