By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga
The anxiety of uncertainty is one of the most troubling experiences anyone can ever have. We can all imagine the anguish and nagging anxiety of the parents of the Chibok schoolgirls who have been held hostage for more than one year by the notoriously wicked Boko Haram terrorists. Every passing day, these poor parents are on a wing and a prayer, always hoping for a miracle to happen. However, as the days become longer, so does hope turn to despair. Hoping against hope is emotionally torturous. Their greatest pain may not probably stem from waiting desperately for miracle to happen. It may perhaps come from the crushing thought that your daughter is raped day after day, and then impregnated by mass murderers!
Carrying the child of a killer, enemy of humanity, in your womb is literally like a death sentence for the victims. When the victims and their families are oppressed by these painful thoughts, rage and helplessness may naturally swarm them. These poor parents need all the consolation to help them overcome these travails of having their loved ones in the custody of mass murderers, who either married their daughters by force or rape them repeatedly every passing day under the influence of physical intimidation with the gun, or death threats.
Worse still, terrorists have no rules of engagement, the sanctity of life means nothing to them. They cowardly thrive on indiscriminate violence against defenceless victims. They won’t mind killing off their captives once they sense that rescue operation is under way. Fear is their weapon of intimidation. The main objective of any rescue mission is to get the hostages alive and unharmed.
When you are dealing with terrorists, the task becomes even harder, because, unlike professional soldiers, the Boko Haram bandits will not have any hesitation to execute their captives if they are cornered. It is a pretty delicate situation for a professional army. A rescue operation that ends disastrously, killing most of the hostages may be a political hot potato for any government to handle. Until he lost power, President Jonathan was nervous about large-scale rescue operation because of this fear. The current President Buhari administration faces the same dilemma. Despite the pressure to fast-track a rescue operation, the government is cautious for valid reasons, while reassuring the country of its commitment to get the hostages unharmed. The pressure on the government is intense, so is the anxiety of the victims and their parents. It is a tough and difficult situation.
Former President Obasanjo said the fact that the hostages were not located and rescued within 24 hours after they were seized, would make any subsequent efforts more herculean. In this tough moment, the country should continue to console the parents of these hostages. It is not easy to expect them to behave normally. As one mother of the victims was quoted saying last year, she said she would rather have the body of her daughter than see her raped, impregnated, or married to a terrorist. We should also pray for our soldiers to succeed in their search for these captives and their safe rescue. I deliberately chose not to use the picture of the Kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls to illustrate this post because these images further traumatise the parents.