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“#BringBackOurGirls” Subject of Senate Hearing

On May 15, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing, “#BringBackOurGirls: Addressing the Threat from Boko Haram.

“It has now been one month since Boko Haram kidnapped more than two hundred girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria,” said The Honorable Robert P. Jackson, principal deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, Department of State. He continued, “At the time of the kidnapping, these brave girls had returned to their high school in order to complete examinations that would allow them to attend university. By seeking knowledge and opportunity, they represented a challenge to Boko Haram in the heart of its area of operations. As the world now knows, Boko Haram opposes democracy and formal education. It has attempted to crush the kind of faith in the promise of education and prosperity that families in Chibok showed.”

In outlining the United States’ efforts to rescue the girls, Mr. Jackson noted, “All of these policy tools – our security cooperation, our legal and sanctions actions, and our diplomatic engagement – constitute the framework within which we are working to help Nigeria safely bring back the women kidnapped by Boko Haram. Resolving this crisis is now one of the highest priorities of the US government…Nevertheless, Nigeria’s conflict with Boko Haram will not end when these young women are bought home. Consequently, throughout this crisis, our assistance is framed by our broader and long-term policy goal of helping the Nigerians implement a comprehensive response to defeating Boko Haram that protects civilians, respects human rights, and addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. We are sharing practices and strategies with the government of Nigeria that will bolster its future efforts to defeat this deadly movement.”

The following witnesses also testified during the hearing:

  • The Honorable Earl Gast, assistant administrator for African Affairs, US Agency for International Development;
  • Alice Friend, principal director for African Affairs, Department of Defense; and
  • Lantana Abdullahi, project manager, Search for Common Ground, Jos, Nigeria.
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