Acton Institute Powerblog

#BringBackOurBoys Too

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Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group in Nigeria, is infamous for kidnapping girls. Last year, everyone from Wall Street to Hollywood got in on the [ineffective] #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign after Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of Christian school girls.

But what about the boys?

Boko Haram has a pseudo-military arm. Which means they need soldiers. And they can’t recruit legitimately. That means they kidnap boys.

Many are themselves victims of terror: child soldiers, abducted from their families and forced to join the ranks of the “holy” warriors. Although it is hard to know exactly how many, nongovernmental agencies estimate they number at least in the hundreds. (Some estimates suggest fully 40% of fighters are children.) The group has published videos of training camps where children, called the “Cubs of the Caliphate,” are trained to fight.

40% are children? That’s staggering. While most of these children seem to be teens, others are far younger. If Boko Haram has its way, they will wipe out an entire generation in Nigeria, one way or another.

While another failed social media campaign is not needed, the world needs to be alerted: Boko Haram has no regard for human life, male or female, adult or child.

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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