100 abducted children located: What Nigeria needs to learn from Ethiopia

The Ethiopian army has located over 100 children abducted by South Sudanese militants in a cross border cattle raid that left more than 200 people dead, and many more injured, last Friday.

Just as Getachew Reda, Ethiopia’s Minister of Information, had initially declared, it appears the Ethiopian troops did cross into South Sudan in pursuit of the assailants and in search of the children, with the approval of South Sudanese government. “The army has been conducting reconnaissance missions in South Sudan and they have a clear idea of where the children are,” he told AFP.

Having located them, an encampment has been made around the areas of Jior and Kok and a government official has reportedly said the kidnapped children will be soon be rescued. Besides highlighting the urgent need to tackle the growing insecurity across Africa, the abduction of about 125 Ethiopian children is a reminder of the mass abduction that took place in Chibok, Nigeria two years ago, except in this case, things are looking up for the Ethiopians.

The past administration, under the auspices of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been accused time and again of being the reason why the kidnapped Chibok girls are yet to be found or rescued. Unlike the swift response tactics deployed by the Ethiopian government and army, three weeks after Chibok’s abduction, neither the Nigerian government nor military, knew the whereabouts of the girls.

It took the Nigerian government more than two weeks after the kidnapping to respond by calling a meeting of government officials, and the principal of the school, to even discuss the incident. It took them another month to locate the whereabouts of the girls as claimed by a Chief of Defence staff, yet nothing significant was done. And an entire year went by before a rescue operation was carried out in Sambisa forest, one that did not involve the Chibok girls.

From that time up until now, the Nigerian government and military have treated Nigeria, and the world, to a variation of stories concerning the location of the girls, and whether or not they are still alive. Last week Thursday marked exactly two years since the abduction of the girls, yet their whereabouts and status remain a mystery, and people are beginning to question whether they should be forgotten or not. Whatever the case, the late response of the government and the Nigerian army seemingly contributed to why these girls are yet to be found as stories emerging from Ethiopia has shown that in such situations, a quick response team and apprehension is key.


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