OTTAWA – A terrorism expert says western nations, including Canada, are coming late to the game in confronting the extremist group that’s seized nearly 300 teenage girls in Nigeria.
The U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Israel and China have all sent teams to the western African country, which has been locked in a deadly struggle with al-Qaida-affiliated Boko Haram for almost a dozen years.
Wesley Wark, one of the Canada’s foremost experts on international and domestic terrorism, says the recent kidnapping has given the group an international platform and perhaps more notoriety than it deserves.
Washington has acknowledged that it is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support in an international effort to free the girls.
Wark says Boko Haram has represented a threat to the stability of Nigeria for years, especially in the northern region, and in oil and resource rich areas.
But he says the spotlight created by the kidnapping has made the group appear to be a global menace, when in fact they have been ostracized as too extreme by other jihadists, including the original branch of al-Qaida.