Finally, some positive news comes from the African country of Nigeria where soldiers are battling the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group. This month, hundreds of women and children were rescued from the organization, but dozens perished during the process.
The plight of the Nigerian girls and women made headlines worldwide last Spring after more than 200 were kidnapped from a school in the Chibok community. It would take over a year of thousands of innocent Nigerians slaughtered, escape attempts, and a presidential election to spark action and bring the hostages home. The movement was captured widely on social media utilizing the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, supported by American dignitaries including First Lady Michelle Obama. According to Amnesty International, more than 2,000 women and children were kidnapped last year.
While the Nigerian army pushes Boko Haram fighters out of the territory, freed hostages are living in displaced people's camps, according to the AFP news outlet. Many survivors have told their stories of anguish, terror, and despair while they try to locate their families - thousands of Nigerians were forced from their homes into neighboring countries. Women and girls were married off to their captors and forced to convert to Islam, pregnant women and babies died from having no access to health care and food, and families were torn apart. The people of Nigeria will need plenty of support and prayers while the situation gets under control.
The country of Paris released new information regarding the Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a plane into the French Alps mountains on March 24. A recent Reuters report said that Andreas Lubitz rehearsed the fatal maneuver on the morning of the crash and had twice been refused medical papers needed to fly, according to investigators. The French BEA Accident Investigation Agency said the co-pilot had five times tampered with the autopilot to bring the plane to low levels during the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, Reuters reported.
Lubitz's actions claimed the lives of all 150 passengers onboard, and the 27-year-old ignored plane crew members banging on the cockpit door as the plane approached the mountains. While the co-pilot had an "above standard" flight level, he suffered from depression and broke from flight training in the past due to his illness. On the day of the fateful flight, Lubitz discarded sick notes from doctors in order to conceal the illness that were later found. The BEA will issue a final report in about a year that will include recommendations on cockpit doors and the handling of pilots' medical records, Reuters said.
Almost two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the country of Nepal in India, rescue workers are struggling to recover the bodies of nearly 300 people under the rubble. Strong aftershocks and ice and snow landslides in villages spiked the death toll, and Sherpas and guides on Mount Everest - the world's tallest mountain - continue clearing their base camp and locating the missing and dead. A Reuters report stated that the death toll reached 7,759 with over 16,400 injured.
As rescue helicopters from assisting countries (including the U.S.) remove the injured for treatment, displaced villagers are living in makeshift tent camps with their families and humanitarian aid is slow to arrive. Fortunately, social media helps locate the missing and spread news about rescue efforts under the #Langlang hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.
Let's keep the people of Nigeria, France, and Nepal in our thoughts.