In recent weeks terrorists have killed some 150 civilians in several horrific attacks across the globe. The media rightly covered the atrocities at the soccer stadium in Istanbul and the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. Yet, the greatest loss of life took place in northern Nigeria where there were several bombs. Even then, the only incident deemed worthy of media attention was when the fundamentalist Islamist group Boko Haram forced two little girls to carry suicide bombs.
‘Twas ever thus, unfortunately. The carnage in northern Nigeria hardly registers on the world’s conscience, despite the mounting death toll. Officially, 20,000 have been killed by Boko Haram. However, when our Network for Africa team visited the city of Jos in November we learned that 20,000 had been killed in Jos alone.
Such horror brings a massive human cost: millions have fled their homes; and survivors are traumatised by flashbacks. Network for Africa has encountered these circumstances before, in northern Uganda, with survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Our unique approach trains bright local people to become lay counsellors, helping thousands of their peers to manage their trauma. Hence our recent trip to northern Nigeria, where we hope to work with local groups to replicate our successful training for lay counsellors.