In the local Hausa language, Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden”. So the abductions show the group’s visceral hatred for Western education. Moreover, the group promotes the puritanical Islamic view that a woman’s place is in the home. The abducted children include Muslims and Christians. In the 12 May video, Boko Haram says some of the Christians have converted to Islam and, dressed in Islamic attire, they are heard reciting Koranic verses.
The militants have attacked schools before. The school in Chibok, which was hosting final year exams for Christian and Muslim schoolgirls, was one of the only ones still open in this remote area of Borno state and had no security protection that night.