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2014年5月16日 (金)

ナイジェリア 拉致された女生徒救出を願う

The Yomiuri Shimbun 8:00 pm, May 15, 2014
World must quickly help rescue of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls
ナイジェリア 拉致された女生徒救出を願う

One month has passed since the ordeal began, but the whereabouts of hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls remains unknown. This is a despicable crime that tramples on their human rights. We hope the girls will soon be rescued.

Boko Haram Islamic extremists raided a girls school in the West African nation of Nigeria and seized more than 200 students. The group has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, and has threatened to sell the girls as “slaves.”

A video released by Boko Haram on Monday showed about 130 of the female students wearing Islamic clothing. The hostages had reportedly been forced to convert from Christianity to Islam.

Boko Haram has said it will free the girls if some of its imprisoned members are released. The Nigerian government has indicated it is willing to hold talks with the group, but there currently is no prospect of the schoolgirls being freed. Even the location where the video was filmed is unknown.

With the Nigerian government making scant progress in resolving the abduction crisis, it is only natural that the international community has banded together to offer assistance to rescue the girls.

The United States has deployed a military surveillance aircraft to try to locate the students, and has dispatched hostage negotiation experts and other specialists to Nigeria. Britain also sent a team of experts, and France has proposed holding talks among the leaders of Nigeria and nearby nations to discuss how to handle the situation.

Global outrage swells

It is no wonder international outrage over the abductions has grown as each day passes.

On Twitter, a campaign called “Bring Back Our Girls” was launched to show support for the hostages. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager advocating girls’ right to get an education, are among those who have added their voices to the campaign.

Widening economic disparities appear to have been a factor behind the abductions.

Nigeria has earned foreign currency through its vast oil resources and has become Africa’s leading economic power. However, most of this oil wealth has gone to southern Nigeria, which is predominantly Christian, while the northern part of the nation, where most citizens are Muslims, remains poor.

The name Boko Haram can be taken to mean “Western education is a sin.” The extremist group has exploited the economic disparities to gain support, and has attacked police stations, Christian churches and other targets, mostly in northern Nigeria. Recently, it even launched suicide attacks in the capital Abuja. These attacks have caused thousands of deaths and cannot be brushed off any longer.

The Nigerian government needs to improve public security, proactively take steps to eradicate problems arising from poverty and do more to cut off terrorism at its roots.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he was “deeply shocked and enraged” by the mass kidnapping. He also indicated Japan was willing to offer assistance to bring stability to the region and prevent violence against women.

It is vital that Japan continues to support the economically developing continent of Africa.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 15, 2014)


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