Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has grown increasingly active in Nigeria over the last month, has most recently taken responsibly for the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls, who they now claim they will sell into slavery.
Boko Haram is particularly active in the Northeast of Nigeria, where it is unclear just how much control the government has. The name Boko Haram translates to Western education is evil, which in turn justifies the kidnapping of the young girls. These actions, along with the spree of violence that Boko Haram has unleashed on Nigeria, including suicide and bus bombings, represents a significant shift in the show of force the organization is pursuing.
This widespread assault on the Nigerian people shows just how unstable Nigeria has become, despite becoming the largest economy in Africa, overtaking South Africa earlier this year. Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest exporters of oil, making this not only an unprecedented humanitarian crisis but also one that has the potential to impact the global economy.
It remains to be seen what the Nigerian government will (or can) do to stabilize the nation. However, it was reported that Nigerian officials, including President Goodluck Johnathan, has reached out to global powers in an effort to aid in stabilizing the country. The international reaction to the chronic instability in Nigeria could have serious ramifications in the short term for the people of Nigeria, and the long term for the global population, making the Nigerian issue one of massive importance in international relations.