I had avoided commenting about terrorism on purpose. I thought it better not to add to the alarm that the media tend to create. However, the other day a friend told me that it was very strange that I hadn’t said anything about the kidnapped Nigerian girls. I try to pay close attention to what my friends tell me, and I think my friend is right. So, I will tell you how I perceive the situation.
Let me start with Nigeria: the main areas of terrorist action are the Northeastern states and the Niger Delta state. The girls were kidnapped in the Northeastern area, right after a bomb blast in Abuja. As capital city, Abuja is not free from the terrorist threat. What about Lagos, the main economic center? Well… you cannot rule out the possibility of an attack in Lagos. In fact, a few weeks after my arrival there, the front page news were that a massive attack to the city had been dismantled by the police. The plan was to invade Lagos with trucks disguised as military vehicles, and to proceed to a major assault. And I was told that it wasn’t the first time that a plan had been dismantled.
And Kenya? The most dangerous zones are Mombasa and Nairobi. You may know that last Friday two bombs exploded at a popular market in Nairobi. And this has not been the first blast since I’ve been here.
Nigeria is a large country (about twice the size of Spain or a bit more than twice that of California, just to give you some references). People in Lagos don’t feel an immediate threat, although they know there’s always a risk. In contrast, people in Nairobi are more and more worried about security. The recommendations in both places are to avoid crowded places such as markets, malls, stations, etc.: if you have to go there, just go and do your business but don’t hung around. And for someone like me who doesn’t know her way around, never to go alone anywhere. If you take the natural precautions, you shouldn’t be over-concerned. In my view, flight cancellations and tourist evacuations are an over-reaction — of course, I may see things differently as I don’t have a public responsibility over citizen security.
I join from here the hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people from all over the world who claim and pray for the Nigerian girls to be brought back to their homes.
How do you perceive the situation?
BTW: some good news in relation to healthcare, the topic of last week’s post: a researcher at the Institute of Tropical Diseases at the University of Navarra, has discovered a way of eradicating the disease: a medicine that makes blood lethal to mosquitoes. In order to continue the research and to develop the medicine they are raising funds via a crowdfunding campaign. They need to raise $20,000: so far, they have raised 33% of their $20,000 goal. We still have 20 days left (until June 9) to contribute reaching the goal!