Nigeria – Violence Increasing at Unprecedented Levels

This 14-year-old boy was shot when gunmen attacked his school in Nigeria, killing three of his friends. His parents will take him away from the area. UN Photo/Isaac Billy
This 14-year-old boy was shot when gunmen attacked his school in Nigeria, killing three of his friends. His parents will take him away from the area. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

This 14-year-old boy was shot when gunmen attacked his school in Nigeria, killing three of his friends. His parents will take him away from the area. UN Photo/Isaac Billy
This 14-year-old boy was shot when gunmen attacked his school in Nigeria, killing three of his friends. His parents will take him away from the area. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

Nigeria Witnessing Growing Violence

THUNDER BAY – The condemnation over the kidnapping of young women in Nigeria is gain across the globe. The young women who were attending school were kidnapped and their captors are now declaring that they will sell them off as slaves.

The violence in Nigeria is growing, and it is happening to both men and women.

United States First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the weekly address from the White House. “Like millions of people across the globe, my husband and I are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night.

“This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls.

“And I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home.

“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.

“Many of them may have been hesitant to send their daughters off to school, fearing that harm might come their way. But they took that risk because they believed in their daughters’ promise and wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed.

“The girls themselves also knew full well the dangers they might encounter. Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats…but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams.

“They were so determined to move to the next level of their education…so determined to one day build careers of their own and make their families and communities proud. And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident…it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions”.

The Violence in Nigeria is Growing

The United Nations refugee agency said today it is alarmed at the recent wave of attacks on civilians in north-east Nigeria which has led to population displacement both inside the country and into neighbouring States.

“The brutality and frequency of these attacks is unprecedented,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

“The past two months have seen multiple kidnappings and deaths, creating population displacement both inside Nigeria and into neighbouring countries,” he added.

Mr. Edwards said that refugees and internally displaced people alike are reporting acts of extreme violence, and show clear signs of distress and fear. Some have witnessed friends or family members being randomly singled out and killed in the streets.

“People speak of homes and fields being burned to the ground, with villages completely razed, or grenades being launched into crowded markets killing people and livestock,” he stated.

“There is mention of people being caught in fighting between insurgents and the armed forces, arbitrary arrests under the suspicion of belonging to insurgent groups, and other serious alleged crimes including, reportedly, summary executions.”

Terrorized students who had survived attacks on their schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have told UNHCR how they saw friends being killed or kidnapped. The abduction of over 200 girls from a school in Chibok in Borno state last month is just one in a series of similar kidnappings from schools in north-east Nigeria in recent months.

Mr. Edwards noted that next week will mark the first anniversary of the Nigerian Government’s declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. In all, 250,000 people are now internally displaced, according to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).In addition, some 61,000 others have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Most are Niger nationals who were living in Nigeria, but 22,000 are Nigerians who have been made refugees by the crisis.