This month marks the second anniversary of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school in Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram. These girls, between the ages of 16 and 18, were captured while at their boarding school. The United States again calls for the immediate release, without preconditions, of all hostages held by Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s military has succeeded in driving Boko Haram out of its strongholds, leaving it seriously weakened. Nevertheless, across northeastern Nigeria and in neighboring countries such a Cameroon and southern Niger, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc. They relentlessly attack villages, murder countless individuals, and kidnap civilians, including women and girls, some of whom are subjected to forced labor and sex slavery through forced marriages to Boko Haram terrorists. Amnesty International reported that Boko Haram in 2015 and 2016 had abducted at least 2,000 women.
According to a recently released UNICEF report, Boko Haram uses children to detonate bombs. Indeed, nearly one of every five such attacks carried out by the terrorist group last year used a child, and more than two-thirds of those were girls.
The United States continues to assist the Nigerian government with intelligence and advisory support in an effort to locate and bring home all those who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. In the last two years, the United States has provided nearly $198 million in humanitarian assistance to the region to deliver conflict-affected populations with transitional assistance, counseling services, health programs, and emergency education for children displaced by violence.
The United States continues to stand with the people of the Lake Chad Basin to combat the deadly scourge of Boko Haram.