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‘Boko Haram Can Become Another al-Qaeda,’ Warns Florida Dem Reviving #BringBackOurGirls

Rep. Frederica Wilson talks to PJM about her recent trip to Nigeria and how mainstream media has "abandoned" the kidnapped schoolgirls.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

July 15, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Of all the horrific stories Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) heard and traumatized families she met on a recent trip to Nigeria, one particularly vicious crime of Boko Haram sticks with her the most.

The terrorists cut off the head of a policeman in front of his wife, set his head next to her, and left the  woman with deep slashes of her own. “He thought it was his duty to protect,” said the congresswoman.

The daily crimes of Boko Haram read like something from a horror script, such as the “very smart girls, very young little girls” who outsmarted the terrorists, donned disguises and escaped, only to run for their lives through the forest for three days before they reached safety.

“It was like a story, like you were reading a novel,” Wilson recalled.

As the toll of Boko Haram has mounted — at least 2,053 civilians in the first half of 2014, according to Human Rights Watch — the world momentarily snapped to attention with a spring hashtag campaign after the kidnapping of more than 230 girls from a school in Chibok state on April 14.

First lady Michelle Obama posed for a photo with a placard bearing the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Members of Congress appealed directly to the Nigerian government to work quickly to rescue the girls. And all 20 women in the Senate, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), sent a letter to President Obama calling for international sanctions against Boko Haram, which was founded in 2002 and was conducting terror operations for years before being designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. last November.

Then the hashtag fizzled without resolution to the girls’ case. Several dozen of the girls escaped earlier this month, and this was followed by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau releasing a video Sunday bragging about the girls still in their clutches — and mocking the grassroots PR campaign.

“Nigerians are saying #BringBackOurGirls, and we are telling [President Goodluck] Jonathan to bring back our arrested warriors, our army,” Shekau said.

A month ago, Wilson joined a congressional delegation to Nigeria with members as diverse as Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to Steve Stockman (R-Texas), and met the Nigerians who started the Twitter campaign.

And they continue #BringBackOurGirls with a meeting every morning at 9 a.m., across the street from the hotel where the lawmakers stayed in Abuja.

“While I was there, they asked me if I would help them by keeping it going in America when I got back,” Wilson told PJM.

So each day her staff brainstorms new entities to enlist in the Twitter war, and has racked up more than a million mentions for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign through their tireless efforts.

“What has disappointed me is that it has disappeared from the normal news cycle and it’s just a Twitter war that’s going on,” Wilson said. “Hopefully they will begin to pick it up again… the mainstream media has abandoned us.”

Wilson is hoping that the public will tweet a #BringBackOurGirls message at 9 a.m. EST each morning in solidarity with the Nigerian girls and their families, as they rally each morning a continent away.

The congresswoman authored a resolution that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support in May condemning the kidnapping as well as all of Boko Haram’s “violent attacks on civilian targets, including schools, mosques, churches, villages, and agricultural centers in Nigeria.”

It called on President Obama “to immediately strengthen United States security, law enforcement, and intelligence cooperation with appropriate Nigerian forces, including offering United States personnel to support operations to locate and rescue the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, and to support Nigerian efforts to counter this United States designated foreign terrorist organization,” as well as delivering to Congress “a comprehensive strategy to counter the growing threat posed by radical Islamist terrorist groups in West Africa, the Sahel, and North Africa.”

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said today that there is nothing new to report on the U.S. assistance to Nigeria in the search, only that they’re still using “manned and unmanned” surveillance.

Wilson’s meetings with grieving mothers and fathers included one gentleman who “cried throughout the entire meeting,” and stories of men who had taken it upon themselves to wield machetes and go into the brush in search of the girls and their Boko Haram captors with no success.

“At least two hours before they kidnapped the girls from the school, they knew they were coming,” she said of the warnings to local authorities that Boko Haram was moving toward the school. “The police did nothing and the army did nothing.”

Girls told the lawmakers that the terrorists asked where the boys at the school were. The boys don’t sleep here, the girls responded, “so they kidnapped them.”

Wilson said Congress needs to encourage a regional and multilateral strategy involving the African Union, the United Nations, and members of the international community who have reached out to help Nigeria including Israel and Saudi Arabia, which last week sent Nigeria $100 million.

She said Saudi Arabia is likely “trying to show that this is not a Muslim-orchestrated fight” as the Muslim community “has been trying to disown Boko Haram.”

“They have bombed so many mosques,” Wilson noted, adding that the day the delegation was leaving three Muslims were killed in a Boko Haram attack.

She characterized the terror group as “some hooligan people who are bent on destruction living off terror and crime, a group of men and boys who have no future and no hope.” She added that recruits come from “poverty that you just couldn’t even imagine” and here comes a group “offering food, shelter, clothing if you come fight with us.”

“This is all these kids have to look forward to — they have no shoes, no education, no work.”

The name Boko Haram means that Western education is sinful. “Anytime the world ‘western’ is used that’s a threat toward the United States,” Wilson said.

“It has mushroomed and it’s like a wildfire, and we’ve got to rein it in,” she stressed. “Boko Haram can become another al-Qaeda at this point.” Shekau voiced support for his al-Qaeda “brethren” in Sunday’s video.

Thus, Wilson suggests that the administration view the threat much like the terrorist gains in Iraq, stepping up drone, manned and satellite surveillance and working with neighboring countries Chad and Cameroon, which have felt the effects of Boko Haram spillover.

Nigerian government officials also need to step up to the plate, said the congresswoman, and the UN should heap pressure on Jonathan.

Wilson came away from her conversation with the governor of Borno state, site of the Chibok kidnapping, feeling that “he is corrupt, too,” as he spent the “whole conversation criticizing the government without even realizing he is the government.”

“To me, there was no urgency,” she added.

Nigerians also told the lawmakers that they would like to see a victims fund established to help the survivors of Boko Haram, who may be ostracized by their villages, infected with HIV, pregnant, or suffering from psychological trauma.

Wilson continues to support the Nigerians each day on the floor of the House, enlisting colleagues in the Twitter campaign and posting pictures of young African women to drive home that there is a story behind every statistic in Boko Haram’s grim toll.

“Every day I go to the floor and speak about our Twitter war,” she said, adding that the glue that holds the campaign together is the belief that “all girls across the world are entitled to an education if they choose to pursue one.”

How can Americans help? Start by reviving the hashtag, Wilson urged.

“They should join in our Twitter war and they should tweet,” she said. “Say something. Send a message to the girls. Send a message to the parents. Send a strong message to the Nigerian government. Send a stronger message to Boko Haram.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
Sorry, Frederica, but Obama has Hispanics to pander to and a crisis on his doorstep to "not waste". Go back to your "quarters", fall into line, and quit being so "uppity" about someone else's slaves.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "media" abandoned the girls? That's the problem?

Who knew it was the job of journalists to rescue kidnapped girls in foreign countries?

Well, I assumed that, sooner or later, we'd find a use for journalists.

Now if we can only figure out a use for Democrats, we'll have this thing figured out.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I want America to see this sweet young boy, Trayvon™, who was hunted down like a dog, shot in the street, and his killer is still at large. He is buried in Miami, Florida, and not one person has been arrested even though we all know who the murderer is. This was a standard case of racial profiling. No more! No more! We will stand for justice for Trayvon™ Martin. ~ Frederica Wilson inciting the lynch mob

The sweet boy with a mouth full of gold teeth and a twitter handle 'No_Limit_Nigga.'

She needs to preach to Barack Hussein Obama, who hasn't much seemed interested in helping his fellow grievance hustler. After all, these girls were just Christians...
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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I know , lets have another hash tag moment. that should show the evil that we mean business
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rep. Wilson, you are an idiot! Taxpaying Conservatives have been milked dry for years now because we often give the benefit of the doubt to naysayers the Dem party. And as evidenced recently in scandals galore, we are the "racists" because we question the efficacy of those policies and practices. So, when do we stop aiding and abetting idiocy like this just so we can be called the vilest things "like baby killers" if one of those or other innocents are harmed in a noble effort? The Democrat Party has incessantly bit the hand that feeds their voters and the time to stop feeling guilty is NOW! I'll pray for the girls but our global responsibility should stop now since our blood and our dollars fuels idiocy within our country and across the ponds and it's got to stop NOW!
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
There were also young men that the Moslem Boko Haram captured, there were over 200. Those young Christian men the Moslem's killed by chopping them up with machetes, seems the Democrats don't care about the young men, just the girls. Everyday the Democrats prove themselves something other than what they purport to be, everything is for the propaganda value, are they now sexist as well as racist and criminal?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
FILE UNDER: DUMB Democrats finally see ISLAM for what it is- only 13 years too late to STOP IT- same will still cram USA Muslim "refugees" bringing the Jihad to USA with them
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Then the hashtag fizzled without resolution to the girls’ case."

Oh, but it made the leftists FEEL good. It allowed them to claim thee moral high ground. And, after all, isn't that what really matters?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
the same ignored the 3 kidnapped Israeli boys even though one was a US citizen!! HYPOCRITES
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the way... does this issue not perfectly illustrate that unprovoked evil does exist in our world? And, left unchallenged, will visit true horror upon peaceful, innocent people?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
The news format of news papers, nightly news broadcasts is not set up to remember things long term.

The bias that the MSM has in editing news bu omitting items and permitting those that are beneficial for their faction precludes long term group memory.

Welcome to 1984 or some version, "shadow", of it.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only people neglecting this story is the Nigerian government. They are unwilling or unable to stop the terrorists. I suspect they know exactly where the girls are and are complicit in the whole thing.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
And this would help President Goodluck how?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
How ironic blacks fought to sit in the front of the bus in the 1960s, only to have the first Magic Negro President throw them under it. And even more ironic, that the great law-breaker and border despoiler, Obama, is called at from the Nigeria to help strengthen their law enforcement!! Magic for all.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "media" abandoned the girls? That's the problem?

Who knew it was the job of journalists to rescue kidnapped girls in foreign countries?

Well, I assumed that, sooner or later, we'd find a use for journalists.

Now if we can only figure out a use for Democrats, we'll have this thing figured out.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Journalists can serve in a manner similar to that of emotions for a person or a start for a car engine.

But hey journalist have more important things to do like turn in us into greenie weenies or metrosexuals.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd like the media to have a job, like independently research reality and serve notice to tyrants and liars in power, that the truth is being told. Sadly, they prefer the slumber party of Liberalism.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
U.S. Presidents get presidential intelligence briefs

CEOs get briefs

A Global Intelligence Briefing for CEOs
http://kevinmeyer.com/blog/2007/02/a_global_intell.html

The public gets the MSM. :(
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Rep. Frederica Wilson talks to PJM about her recent trip to Nigeria and how mainstream media has "abandoned" the kidnapped schoolgirls."

Seems her Dear Leader who is in the position to do something has "abandoned" the kidnapped schoolgirls, and the Media keeps quiet to cover for him. The not very bright Congresswoman is barking up the wrong tree.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the biggest elements of the problem is the "nested" hipocrisy that socialists have. By that I mean, that SJLee would decry that we went to Iraq ("blood for oil") while president Angrychild won't "mobilize" anyone with siginficant firepower to "bring back our (their) girls".

They cannot have it both ways. The United States cannot be both benefactor for freedom and enslaver of the world. Yet, someone like Sheila cannot connect the dots to understand her self-contradiction.

Yes, there are those who argue that the mission in the mid-east was not over nation-building, etc. But I'm simply making the point that the socialists HATE the US military...so much so that even when they do good, they are excoriated and the VA scandal stands as testimopny to what SJLee really thinks of our citizens in uniform, yet she has no problem demanding that they be sent to a fifth-world hellhole to save people from a horrible fate.

IOW, "She cares more than you."

So she went to Nigeria...bet she ran into people with equivelent melanin content that hated her guts and treated her like crap. And, I'm sure that confused the living daylights out of her.

In any case, her arguments are always for political convenience with a huge "LOOK AT ME!" factor. That same, old, "yelling at things gets attention" metality.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
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