Nigeria and Boko Haram Truce
By Azees Ishola
There was hope this week in the war between Nigeria’s government and the armed Boko Haram faction. It was believed that a truce had been reached between the two factions, at least leading to a cease fire. There was hope that some of the kidnapped girls and other citizens of the country might be returned to their homes. However, it seems the truce may have been simply a smoke screen.
Since the truce was declared, Boko Haram has taken another village in northeast Nigeria. The group kidnapped 40 girls from the village. In another separate attack, six villagers were beheaded by the group. So, what is going on?
The truce was negotiated between envoy Danladi Ahmadu of the Boko Haram and a general for Nigeria’s President Johnathan had announced the truce on Friday. However, after this weekend’s events, no one is quite sure what to think. Does Ahmadu have standing with the Boko Haram? Have the Boko Haram split into fractions? All of these questions need answers and none are forth coming at this time.
The war has devastated parts of Nigeria. Besides the lack of security, unsettled people with no homes and loss of life, villages have been unable to grow and put food stores away for the coming winter season. Famine is a real possibility and Boko Haram keeps relief agencies out of the country since they fear for their safety. This is why the truce was welcomed and hailed as a large step forward.
Sadly, it seems that the country is still on the road to destruction. Nigeria’s main export, oil, is also been affected by the war. Since the income from this source has been a boost to Nigeria, this is another loss for the country. With the falling price of oil due to large supplies at this time, Nigeria may never be able to recoup the financial loss from its oil business at a later date.
Some good news for the country today was that the small outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria has been contained. There have been no new cases of the disease for the last 42 days. A small step forward in a difficult time. However, Nigeria has become two countries. One under warfare and the other part trying to move forward, but hoping the war will not move to their area.
Boko Haram has cut off modern communications in the areas it controls. It is not possible to obtain reports on raids or attacks until after the fact, sometimes weeks later. Besides taking over part of Nigeria, Boko Haram prevents residents from leaving the area by blocking access or shooting those who want to leave. Most of the men in a village are killed and women are taken to serve the group. Despite the attempts of the Nigerian government, Boko Haram has been gaining in strength since it came on the scene in 2009. The government does not seem to want to or is not able to eliminate the forces backing this Islamic group.
At a time when Africa was stepping forward into the modern world and encouraging foreign businesses and investment, this type of insurrection puts a hold on this type of investment. There is no easy answer for Nigeria, a country living in several worlds at the same time.
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