In April of 2014, almost 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s been one year since the kidnappings and Nigeria still suffers at the hands of the militant group – and 219 of the girls are still missing.
Throughout the year, as the #BringBackOurGirls digital campaign slowly lost media coverage, even more people were kidnapped in Nigeria. Boko Haram has caused chaos in parts of Nigeria – and 2,000 women and girls have been kidnapped since the beginning of last year, according to Amnesty International. Though last year about 50 of the original 300 schoolgirls who were kidnapped managed to escape.
“Men and women, boys and girls, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalized by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.
While the crisis isn’t over, that’s not to say efforts aren’t made. The Nigerian government accepted offers from the US, UK, France, and China to help in the crisis. And Nigerian activists fight daily for justice. Incoming president Muhammadu Burhari said Nigeria will “do everything in its power to bring [the girls] home” but warned he can’t “promise that [they] can find them.”
Many say the reason the previous president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, did not win reelection was due to his handling of Boko Haram – those who opposed his policies say he did not do enough to help bring back the kidnapped schoolgirls.
Progress has been made by military to stop Boko Haram’s terror, but the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria is far-reaching and has already hurt and killed too many. News last month came out that Nigerian troops had managed to drive Boko Haram militants from Bama in Borno State northeast Nigeria – an area occupied by the terrorist group since September of last year.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the kidnappings, protests were held worldwide, including in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
One of the kidnapped schoolgirls who escaped, 19-year-old Saa, says she feels the government could be doing more to stop Boko Haram.
“They always say they are trying their best to bring the girls back, but I’m not sure if they are doing their best,” Saa said.
Media Resources: US News 4/15/2015; The Atlantic 4/14/2015; Huffington Post 4/14/2015; CNN 4/14/2015; BBC 4/14/2015, 3/21/2015