Nigeria

Freedom for the World’s Most Famous Hostages Came at a Heavy Price

12/24/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
12/23/17:

Long after the #BringBackOurGirls campaign faded, Nigeria paid a secret ransom of €3 million to free some of the kidnapped schoolgirls.

The story of the Chibok girls, as it is commonly understood, reflects a landmark moment in world history. A simple hashtag on Twitter spurred seven nations to dispatch billions of dollars in armed forces, drones, satellites and sophisticated surveillance equipment. That combination of digital activism and international cooperation cut through the battle lines of a near decadelong civil war and helped Nigeria bring the girls home. The full story, never before reported, says otherwise.

In interviews, many Nigerians involved in negotiations for the girls, from cabinet ministers to soldiers at the front, expressed bewilderment that a series of tweets could so thoroughly distort the priorities of a conflict that had been grinding to a stalemate. Nigerian officials complained bitterly of social media’s intrusion and the compromises it forced them to consider. Some believed the girls’ fame only prolonged their captivity. Others resented the lack of focus placed on tens of thousands of other children the insurgents had abducted or murdered.

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