Rep. Louie Gohmert says he’ll never forget the grief-stricken Nigerian mothers whose daughters were snatched away from the confines of their boarding school by Boko Haram Islamic militants.
The Texas Republican traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, last week to meet with some of the mothers and several young survivors who managed to escape the heavily armed militia camp after they and hundreds of their peers were abducted.
Gohmert said Boko Haram has told the mothers and other villagers that the rest of the world doesn’t care about the schoolgirls kidnapped on April 14.
They’ve said, “`If you think anybody in America cares, they’re not coming. They’re too busy having their fun times, they don’t care what happens to you,’” Gohmert recounted to TheBlaze. He said he wanted to let the mothers know, “America had not forgotten them and that Boko Haram is our enemy, too.”
Gohmert, who serves as the vice chairman on the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, said he made a promise to the mothers on his visit last week that he would personally deliver their stories to his congressional colleagues, and that the U.S. will continue to fight for their daughters’ freedom. He said he supports the recent decision to send some U.S. soldiers and special operations forces to Nigeria to train local forces in combat operations techniques to fight Boko Haram.
“This is not just their fight,” Gohmert said. “If you don’t address terrorism, it will come back to you. It comes down to a national security issue for the United States as well. We are no longer protected by two oceans, but we live in a world where terrorists are planning to kill as many people as they can.”
Precious and Hope — whose names have been changed for their protection — understand Boko Haram’s hatred of Western ideology. They’re two 15-year-olds who managed to escape after they were abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, a Christian stronghold. Members of Boko Haram, whose name translates to “Western education is sin,” said they had warned the girls not to go to school.
When Gohmert first met the girls, he said, he was concerned that they might not be comfortable around a stranger.
“I didn’t want to cause more pain, and [the girls] said no, it’s OK, so I stuck out my hand to her she grabbed it with both hands and I grabbed hers with both of mine. You see the look in their eyes, and you get the hugs, when they know you care,” he said.
Gohmert said he wasn’t planning on going to Nigeria last week, but felt compelled to do so after reading a personal letter sent to him by Unlikely Heroes, a nonprofit organization that fights child sex trafficking and has been providing counseling services in Nigeria since the kidnaping.
Erica Greve, the founder of Unlikely Heroes, spoke to TheBlaze via Skype from Nigeria and said Gohmert’s visit “gave the women hope and reminded them that they haven’t been forgotten.”
The girls’ fathers feel so ashamed that they could not protect their daughters that it’s difficult for them to speak out themselves, Gohmert said.
“Boko Haram’s evil and hate don’t come close to a mother’s love,” Gohmert said. “I felt privileged to stand next to mothers — to have them hold my hand and I theirs, and to hear the truth about what happened. I wanted to make sure that my coming would make a difference.”
TheBlaze’s Elizabeth Kreft contributed to this report.
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