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Special Reports

Terrorism in Africa: A bigger threat than in Europe, but much less coverage

Are African lives worth less than the lives of people elsewhere in the world?

Last week 17 people were killed by terrorists in France. The events were shocking and quite rightly the murders were subject to unequivocal condemnation. At the same time, considerably more people were reported to have been killed by gunmen in Baga, Nigeria, with figures ranging from 150 to over 2,000. But it’s the French victims who we focus on, showing our solidarity with them by declaring ‘Je suis Charlie’, and holding vigils in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere- while the African victims of violence have – certainly until the last day or so - been ignored. Even Nigeria‘s own President was keener to condemn the Paris attacks than those in his own country. How can this be right? Surely we should be mourning all victims equally?

For a brief period it was fashionable to show concern for the victims of political extremism in Africa. Remember the‘BringBackOurGirls’ hash tag when the militant Islamist organization Boko Haram kidnapped schoolgirls in Chibok in Nigeria in 2014? The interest however soon died away.

As the media spotlight was shone elsewhere, Boko Haram continued to make major territorial gains killing thousands in the process. Today, as reported by RT, the group now controls an area of 52,000 square kilometers, the size of Slovakia.

But while Islamic State and their territorial advances became front page news in 2014, the gains made by Boko Haram have, like the group’s victims, been ignored. Instead the focus is on the very small ‘threat’ terrorists pose to Europe, a threat which as I explained here our governments are doing their best to ‘big up’. Click here to read the full report.

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