Last week, the Nigerian military rescued hundreds of kidnapped women and children from extremist group Boko Haram. Some of the rescued girls are from the same group kidnapped from a Nigerian school last year. More than 1,000 more remain missing.
Benjamin Ola Akande, Nigerian-born dean of Webster University’s School of Business and Technology, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday the rescue was a result of “intensive military work and intelligence” on behalf of the Nigerian military.
“They fought [Boko Haram] fearlessly,” Akande said of the Nigerian military.
Akande said that the extremist group hid the captives in the Sambisa Forest located in northeastern Nigeria. Some of the rescued women were pregnant and some were wives of Boko Haram members, he said. A few opened fire on the rescuers out of fear.
“The Sambisa Forrest is a very large place,” Akande explained. “[Nigerian military officials] are anticipating, and expecting and hoping that as they continue to make their way inside this forest that they will find others, particularly the girls.”
Akande mentioned that in the past year, some factors have prevented the progress of finding more of the victims. Such factors include the recent Nigerian elections and false alarms of negotiation deals between Boko Haram and government officials to release the girls.
“There were some ransoms exchanged, there was some money paid, but for now we’re still waiting on the girls to show up,” Akande said. “The chances of finding the girls in totality are slim to none.”
Akande said the war against Boko Haram would affect the region for many years to come. He said he hopes that within the next month, Nigerian officials can capture and eliminate the group’s leadership.
St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.