“Je Suis Charlie” Overshadows Nigerian Crisis



    Since masked gunmen shot and killed 17 people, including national police officers and employees of the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, tensions brew as the attacks in the capital city showcase the weakening of communal relations in France between Muslims and non-Muslims. Within this media blitz, a blind eye has been turned to the ongoing slaughter of Nigerians at the hands of Islamic terrorist organization “Boko Haram”.

    An estimated 2,000 people have died (and 273 girls kidnapped) in 2014 as a result of violent raids and bloody, fatal attacks by this militant group that rose to power in 2002 and whose membership is thought to rank in the 6000-8000 members. The ongoing conflict between the Nigerian government and military and Boko Haram has impacted thousands of Nigerians, maiming and murdering many. As a result of Boko Haram’s terrorist actions, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million people have been displaced.

    Last week’s attack on Baga in Borno state was so widespread, defense groups quit tallying dead bodies. Still, one estimate suspects at least 2,000 massacred. This Saturday, three female suicide bombers (one reported as young as 10 years old) strapped with explosives detonated in the city of Maiduguri, killing 23 people.

    In a recent video, Cameroonian President Paul Biya was threatened by the terrorist group. On Monday, Boko Haram militants attacked a Cameroo-nian military camp in Kolofata where 143 of them were killed.

    As most of the world continues to show solidarity with Parisians and Hebdo supporters, many, including the Catholic archbishop of Jos in central Nigeria, reproach the Western world for disregarding the detrimental threat Boko Haram has become to Nigeria. As the death toll rises and Boko Haram continues its insurgency in Nigeria and other African countries, television and computer screens maintain special focus on France, essentially repudiating the Nigerian crisis. The West’s disinterest comes unwarranted, considering more Nigerians than French are being impacted by terrorism in the name of Islam.

    Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama urges the world to show more empathy and demands the support to stop Boko Haram’s advan-ces in Nigeria. Kaigama asks that the international community show the same support and spirit of solidarity it has for France for Nigeria.