Skip to main content
A classroom deserted by students after Boko Haram Islamists kidnapped 110 school girls AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria’s Schoolgirls Are Under Attack Again

The international community must do everything possible to support the Nigerian government's efforts to locate and rescue the 110 girls recently abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in the village of Dapchi. It must also redouble its efforts to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, by investing more in building truly safe schools.

LONDON – They lie about 150 miles apart in the vast brushlands of northern Nigeria, but the towns of Chibok and Dapchi have a tragic bond: both have been targets of large-scale kidnappings of schoolgirls by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Following a three-year global campaign to free the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok in 2014 – an event that brought Boko Haram’s sadistic agenda to the world’s attention – 110 girls in Dapchi vanished last month under identical circumstances.

In both cases, members of Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language translates roughly to “Western education is a sin,” sprayed a school with bullets as they invaded the grounds to steal food and other supplies. The group’s quest to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has already left at least 20,000 dead and made more than 2.6 million homeless since 2009.

Another commonality between the two attacks is that the fate of the schoolgirls was a source of confusion for days. In Chibok, it was eventually learned that the 276 girls had been herded into trucks and taken away. A grainy black-and-white photo of the group after their abduction, taken by one of the terrorists, incited global outrage, sparking the movement Bring Back Our Girls.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;

Handpicked to read next

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions