‘Terrorists use women. Men get killed, but women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, raped, and young girls are selected to blow themselves up’
A slew of films showcased in Africa’s biggest movie festival last week highlighted jihadism in the continent, particularly focusing on the plight of women at the hands of extremists.
“When people talk about terrorism, they don’t talk much about women,” said Apolline Traore, a director from the festival’s host country, Burkina Faso, which has suffered grievously from jihadism.
Traore’s feature-length “Sira” – which won the Silver Stallion of Yennenga award in the 28th Pan-African Film and Television Festival – describes the survival story of a woman who is abducted by jihadists. Traore said she wanted to haul women out of the typical image of victimhood and place them in the “major role… (they play) in the fight against terrorism.”
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives in Burkina Faso since jihadists swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015, and more than two million people have fled their homes. Around 40 percent of the country is controlled by insurgents.
Another director whose home country is struggling with jihadism is Amina Mamani. Her native Nigeria is the cradle of the Boko Haram movement, whose attacks began in 2009 and spread to Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
Mamani’s short film “The Envoy of God” tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who is kidnapped one night by jihadists to use her to carry out a suicide attack on a market – but she decides otherwise.
“Terrorists use women. Men get killed, but women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, raped, and young girls are selected to blow themselves up,” said Mamani, AFP reported.