The closer, on-the-ground perspective of sisters

A girl displaced as a result of Boko Haram attack in the northeast region of Nigeria rests her head on a desk at a camp for internally displaced people in Yola Jan. 13. (CNS photo / Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my one year (One year exactly! Happy anniversary to me!) at Global Sisters Report, it’s that sisters pretty much know everything.

I don’t know that they would describe it this way, but they have what I consider to be an underground information network through which they disseminate information to other sisters all over the world. For example, when ISIS was first making waves in the news, Dominican sisters in Iraq were relaying first-hand information to Dominican sisters in the U.S. And when it comes to the international efforts to end human trafficking, the sister network is incredibly strong.

So, it should probably not have surprised me that that the sisters would have on-the-ground information about Boko Haram, which you may remember is something I think we should be more concerned about. Over the weekend, an email circulating through a Franciscan sister network made its way to GSR. Attached was a dispatch from the Maroua-Mokolo diocese in northern Cameroon where, reportedly, Boko Haram has made inroads.

The document quotes Maroua-Mokolo’s Bishop Bruno Ateba, who says that just in the last few months of 2014, Boko Haram has murdered two senior diocesan staff, three catechists as well as 30 other Catholics in the diocese. Many more have been abducted.

“Today we beseech your attention, your prayers and your help. Help us to bring an end to this nameless brutality that is destroying all hope for the future and bringing to nothing all the hard work of generations of believers,” Ateba is reported to have said.

How many people knew Boko Haram was active in Cameroon? I mean, there’s barely any attention given to the fact that they’re still active in Nigeria – that the mass abduction that spurred #BringBackOurGirls was neither the first nor the last time the group had used this particular form of terrorism.

It’s times like these that I’m incredibly grateful for the sister network. Journalists may not be able to reliably track a guerilla group and keep the world informed, but sisters can, and we at GSR can help. In fact, we try hard to report the international justice news that’s been either ignored or forgotten. 

And as we hear more about Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, or wherever else they may be, trust that we will certainly be writing about it. Stay tuned.

[Dawn Cherie Araujo is staff reporter for Global Sisters Report based in Kansas City, Missouri. Follow her on Twitter @Dawn_Cherie.]

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