WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the second anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls and the humanitarian situation in northeastern Nigeria:
“Two years ago, Boko Haram abducted 276 school girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria. Although some of these girls eventually escaped captivity, the vast majority remain unaccounted for. And sadly, this mass abduction is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Boko Haram’s brutality. In addition to the Chibok abductions, Boko Haram terrorists have taken hundreds of girls, boys, and women across northeastern Nigeria. They have forced abducted women and girls to become suicide bombers in Nigeria, as well as in neighboring Cameroon. And as we mark this somber anniversary, we must remain committed to stopping all of Boko Haram’s destructive behavior.
“I am also concerned that victims of Boko Haram have been stigmatized as they reintegrate into their communities. These individuals have suffered enough; they shouldn’t be victimized again. As the Nigerian government reasserts authority over areas previously held by Boko Haram, it’s critical to support community reconciliation as a way to rebuild the social fabric of this region.
“Even before its campaign of violence, Boko Haram had a devastating impact on an already vulnerable region. Across northeastern Nigeria, there are approximately 2.2 million internally displaced people, many of whom live in danger without government protection. The humanitarian response across the Lake Chad Basin has not measured up to the scope of this crisis. So I look forward to working with the governments of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger as well as my colleagues in Congress to provide humanitarian support to communities, improve the protection of civilians, and ensure that we help eliminate the conditions that drive violent extremism.”