Abuja, Nigeria (nsnbc) – Nigerian military sources reported on Saturday that the armed forces killed scores of Boko Haram insurgents while rescuing twenty women and children. The operation was conducted in part of the Sambisa Forest which is Boko Haram’s primary remaining stronghold.
Briefing the press about the operation, Major General Chris Olukolade announced that one soldier had been killed by a landmine during Friday’s operation and that ten others had been injured. Olukolade did not mention whether the freed hostages include some of the 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in May 2014.
Boko Haram began its insurgency six years ago. The insurgency that released a video, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, a.k.a ISIS / ISIL has been pushed back significantly. At the height of Boko Haram’s insurgency the organization controlled an area compatible to the size of Belgium. Boko Haram launched its insurgency as Nigerian oil became increasingly attractive on the world oil market. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest producer and exporter of oil.
Friday’s operation was one of a string of major operations against Boko Haram since early May 2015, when the Nigerian military launched a joint operation with troops from Cameroon, Chad and Benin as well as a few Canadian troops. The operation in early May, in cooperation with UMEOA member States Cameroon, Chad and Benin prompted the question whether Nigeria had played the France card against Boko Haram. So far these operations have resulted in the liberation of some 700 hostages from Boko Haram.
Although France and the USA are NATO partners and even though there interests in the Africa are often converging, France and the USA are also regional competitors as France is attempting to maintain its virtually absolute political and economic control over the UMEOA region.
In May 2014 the release of a clandestine recording of a phone conversation between Mustafa Varank, who has close ties to Tukey’s AKP government and Turkey’s intelligence service MIT and a Turkish Airlines official, in which the two are discussing details about arms smuggling to Nigeria. NATO member Turkey as well as the USA have repeatedly been implicated in arming the Islamic State, Boko Haram and other insurgencies whom they are purporting to combat.
Although Boko Haram has become notorious for kidnappings, especially of females, the insurgency is far from the only perpetrator of slavery and human trafficking in Nigeria. In an article about slavery in Africa, Emma Christopher stressed that the NGO Free the Slaves estimates that 1.6 billion dollar in profit derives from African and Middle Eastern slavery per year. Christopher adds, that this amount is greater than the combined GDP of eight African countries in 2013.
Emma Christopher, an expert on slavery and human trafficking, stressed that tens of thousands of people are bought and sold in Nigeria every year. The majority of them are children. Christopher is referring to the International Labour Organization which estimated that in 2003, as many as six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some time in their lives.
Analysts would note that especially western politicians and media seldom care about the rampant slavery issue in Nigeria and that the sudden focus on those kidnapped by Boko Haram was motivated by attempts to justify an increased US military presence as well as an increased presence of French-allied troops from Chad in the oil-rich African nation.
CH/L – nsnbc 24.05.2015
Written by: Christof Lehmann
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