The kidnapping of more than 300 Nigerian school girls weeks ago – and now word of a new massacre – by Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group that operates in northern Nigeria, has drawn the attention and outrage of the international community.
The Obama Administration said Tuesday it plans to send military officials and hostage experts to help deal with the explosive situation.
Meanwhile, to the east, another gang of extremists known as al Shabaab have been setting off bombs to terrorize, and kill, residents of Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya. The attacks are being carried out in retaliation for the Kenyan military’s pursuit of al Shabaab in neighboring Somalia.
We can all hope the missing girls will be found given the intensified international attention and collaborative effort. But that doesn’t mean Boko Haram, which has grown more powerful since announcing itself in a 2011 attack on a UN compound in Abuja, will have been curtailed – or that the typical response to these terrorists is making much progress.
Likewise for al Shabaab. We don’t hear too much about al Qaeda these days, now that Osama bin Laden is dead. But perhaps that’s because what we have today is a much more dispersed, easy-to-miss phenomenon I call al Qaeda 2.0.