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Editorial: Slow response to condemn terrorists who took girls

The mass kidnapping of almost 300 girls to be sold as slaves is unthinkable in civil society.

And it should be in Nigeria, where an extremist Islamic terror group abducted the teenagers from a government high school in mid-April. Some escaped, but the whereabouts of about 270 is still unknown three weeks later. On Tuesday, eight more were taken.

The group, Boko Haram, says it will sell the girls “in the market, by Allah.” Unconfirmed reports say some already have been sold for as little as $12 apiece.

Boko Haram means roughly “Western education is sinful,” and indeed these extremists have targeted schools, especially for girls, closing many in its attempt to take control of northern Nigeria. It’s ultimate goal is to make Nigeria a “pure” Islamic state.

The failure of the Nigerian military to find the kidnapped teenagers has drawn international outrage, as well it should.


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Yet until recent days it was greeted with a tepid response from President Obama. On Tuesday reporters pressed him during a news conference on climate change into making a response, and 20 female U.S. senators also sent him a letter imploring him to seek United Nations’ sanctions against the group. Obama then said the kidnappings were “outrageous” and “heartbreaking” and said the Nigerian president had just accepted U.S. help in searching for the girls.

The president and other world leaders must make clear the terrifying acts like those of Boko Haram are unacceptable for any group acting in the name of a religion.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.