Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rescue of Nigerian schoolgirls likely to be a bloody affair

Nigeria is reportedly prepared to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of more than 100 girls, undoubtedly the safest way to bring them home.

 The BBC said Nigeria reversed its refusal to even talk with the terrorist group and asked it to send representatives with power to negotiate an exchange.

 Any attempt to seize the kidnapped schoolgirls will likely be the bloody affair. French and US special forces have considerable experience in trying to rescue hostages, and in killing terrorists. Few such affairs have ended without the deaths of hostages and soldiers.

 The desert Harmattan winds, which make flying helicopters extremely risky, normally end in March. The area where the girls are being held is in the Sahel, the semi-arid region next to the Sahara.

 The decision by Boko Haram to make a video of the girls available may mean they are no longer in Nigeria.

 France, as the former colonial power and more recently the foe of Muslim fanatics in the region as well as the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi, knows the area very well. But the governments of Chad and Cameroon are even weaker than Nigeria. They will be unable to provide much help.

 The vast US spying apparatus probably will find the girls. What then? Do they have permission to try to rescue them?

 The government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been anything but purposeful in his handling of the seizure of the girls a month ago. Thousands of northern Nigerians have died in terrorist bomb attacks.

 If Jonathan has any hope of winning next year’s presidential elections he needs to find a way to rescue the girls with as little blood spilled as possible and at the same time crush the terrorists.

 He might choose to negotiate a prisoner exchange then go after Boko Haram later. It is not known how many members of Islamist fanatics the Lagos government holds. Al-Qaida is believed to have helped the group get started in 2009. That very connection puts Boko Haram high on the list of terrorist groups Washington wants to eliminate, The Guardian reports.



The New York Times

No comments:

Post a Comment