Despite Nigerian military officials announcement last week that they had negotiated with militant group Boko Haram for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April, it appears the girls have not be brought home – and residents say more women and girls have been kidnapped since.
Last week, in a deal brokered in neighboring country Chad, a ceasefire agreement was supposedly made between Boko Haram and Nigerian military officials. The announcement came two days before fighters – whom some suspect have ties with Boko Haram – attacked northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram leaders have not yet made any public statements giving their support to the ceasefire agreement with Nigerian military officials. The Nigerian government says it is scheduled to have more talks with Boko Haram this week in Chad.
Although authorities have not yet confirmed the news, residents in northeastern Nigeria say dozens of women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram. Residents say a large militant group attacked villages in the northeastern state of Adamawa. The group reportedly forced a group of women and girls to harvest groundnuts then abducted some of the young women and teenage girls.
When hundreds of girls were initially kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, the Nigerian government did little to nothing to get them back to safety. The government’s inaction sparked acts of resistance in the country, which eventually spurred a viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign that was joined by people from around the world.
Since the kidnapping in April, Boko Haram has killed hundreds of civilians. The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against the group last week, adding Boko Haram to a list of organizations associated with al-Qaeda. The US declared the extremists a terrorist group in 2013, the same year Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three states over “fear among our citizens and a near breakdown of law and order in parts of the country” that they have caused.
Earlier this month, Boko Haram released 27 hostages that had been taken in two separate raids this summer. Their release had given hope to activists and families still fighting for the safety of others still held by the group. Of those abducted in April, 57 have successfully fled; one young woman was found roaming a small village, pregnant and traumatized. Scholarships made possible in part by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai were given to 15 escaped girls so they could continue their studies.
Media Resources: BBC News 10/23/14, 10/11/14; Forbes 10/22/14; Feminist Newswire 10/17/14; Al Jazeera 10/14/14; CNN 5/14/2013