With 110 girls still missing after terrorist group Boko Haram attacked a technical college in Nigeria last week, a priest in the region says “deep sorrow has descended on the once sleepy…town.”
On Feb. 19th, Boko Haram raided a girls’ technical school in Dapchi, a small town in northeastern Nigeria. Witnesses said militants stormed the school and herded students into trucks.
“Boko Haram militants have ravaged Northeast Nigeria and other strategic targets in the country in their bid to implant an Islamic state,” said Father Maurice Kwairanga, who coordinates the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) for the Nigerian Diocese of Yola.
Corresponding with Catholic Relief Services, the priest said that this has left “many in this community…frustrated with no one to offer any support or explanations” in the wake of the most recent attack.
Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group whose name means “Western education is sinful,” has carried out numerous attacks, suicide bombings, and kidnappings in recent years.
Based in northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram launched an uprising in 2009 hoping to impose strict sharia law on Nigeria. It has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, targeting security forces, politicians, Christian minorities, and moderate Muslims in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north. In 2015, the group pledged allegiance to ISIS.
A national search for the Dapchi students is currently underway. “The Nigerian security forces have now launched aerial surveillance and deployed special forces to help locate the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls,” explained Kwairanga.
However, confidence in the government is “waning,” the priest said. He noted that many of the girls kidnapped from Chibok Government Secondary School in 2014 remain missing, despite the #Bring Back Our Girls campaign that garnered the world’s attention.
Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls in that attack, and more than 100 are still missing.
Read more at Crux.