A lot of people have gone missing lately. On March 8, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people. The navies of several countries are still scouring the seabed of the Indian Ocean for the wreckage. And on April 14, 276 high school girls (the number is uncertain) in a remote Nigerian village were kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate, Boko Haram (Western education is forbidden), the night before a physics exam. They have probably been taken over the border into neighbouring Chad or Cameroon.
Unhappily, Western media ignored the latter atrocity. Until the past week -- when the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, appeared on a video and announced that he would be selling the girls, presumably as sex slaves. The going rate is 12 American dollars. Although he looked quite deranged, even drugged, it was a brilliant public relations move and the story moved immediately to the front page.This story hasn't had much media coverage. The girls were attending a Christian school, and have most likely been captured by Islamists to be sold into slavery.
Newspapers are still full of stories about the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in 2007, but the disappearance of more than 200 Nigerian girls was regarded as just another dark episode in the Dark Continent.