Bring Back Our Girls

Earlier today, the extremist group Boko Haram announced that they will release over 200 school girls that were abducted on the night of 14–15 April, 2014. According to Nigeria’s military chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, Boko Haram has also agreed a ceasefire, however Boko Haram has not made a public statement to verify this.

As a student attending an all girls boarding school, the school informed us, with immense detail, every couple of days about the Nigerian girls for a few weeks. Without a doubt, being in a similar situation to these girls prior to the kidnapping, the difference being that I was in a different country, unsettled me to the core. To say that the thought that the same could have happened to me was terrifying is an understatement. Perhaps it was an irrational fear, yet the fact that these girls never saw it coming told me that I would never know if a life altering event was around the corner. However, it shames me to say that after a while, the news about the girls slowly subsided in our school as detrimental events continued to occur around the world.

This afternoon, I was with my friends and I was having a good time. While I was enjoying a sandwich in a cafe, my phone notified me that BBC had breaking news. It said, ‘Breaking: Boko Haram to release over 200 kidnapped girls’. Perhaps it is naive of me to feel sudden relief and expect these girls to be released as the Nigerian military say, despite there being no confirmation from Boko Haram. Yet, perhaps it’s the guilt and shame in me when I realised that I hadn’t been keeping up with how what was happening to these girls that made me feel the relief that they were being released. Perhaps I have no right in saying these words, but I will say it tentatively: this is a cause for celebration; the girls could be coming home to loved ones.

Background

On the night of 14–15 April 2014, A group of militants, known to be Boko Haram, attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in the north-eastern town Chibok, Nigeria on the night of 14-15 April 2014. The militants pretended to be guards and broke into the school. They proceeded to tell the girls to get out and come with them. Most of the girls were abducted by means of trucks, with speculation that they were abducted into the Konduga area of the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram were known to have camps. Houses in Chibok were also burned down in the incident.

According to a BBC Article [x], Amnesty International believes that Nigeria’s military had advance warning of an attack on the town where some 270 girls were kidnapped but failed to act. Nigeria’s armed forces have confirmed that the Nigerian military had four hour advance notice of the attack but said that their over-extended forces were unable to mobilise reinforcements.

As this calamity was met with a large international reaction sympathising with the mothers of girls, the online world took to social media to demand the return of the girls and to complain about the government’s perceived slow and inadequate response and insisted upon greater government action. As a result,  #BringBackOurGirls began to trend globally on Twitter as the story continued to spread.

Written By: Mint Kovavisarach

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