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A girl in Soweto, South Africa, displays a poster on May 14, 2014, in reference to the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from a Nigerian school by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram.
A girl in Soweto, South Africa, displays a poster on May 14, 2014, in reference to the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from a Nigerian school by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram.
(DENIS FARRELL/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

What Nigeria’s government doesn’t know about Boko Haram

To understand why the brutal Boko Haram insurgency continues to rumble onward with more deadly attacks and kidnappings, you only need to look at the Nigerian government’s confusion over its counterterrorism strategy – and its uncertainty over even the basic facts of the rebellion.

How many schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria in April? How many attackers were involved? The government does not actually know for sure. More than 200 girls are believed to be held hostage by Boko Haram, and perhaps as many as 300, but the government doesn’t know for certain – even after months of global controversy over the kidnapping.