Two years ago in April, the terrorist group Boko Harm kidnapped 276 girls from Chibok Government Secondary School in Nigeria, prompting an international outcry to #BringBackOurGirls. Today, even though thousands of victims kidnapped by Boko Haram have been released, 219 of the Chibok girls are still missing and only 57 have been able to escape.
Parents of the girls last month viewed a “proof of life” video, obtained by CNN, which depicted 15 of the girls. The video, only the second to show the Chibok girls, was reportedly filmed in December 2015. The last video was released in May 2014, shortly after the girls were kidnapped on April 14, and showed about 100 of the girls. In the May 2014 video, Boko Haram offered to free the girls in return for the release of imprisoned group members.
Yana Galang, one of the mothers of the Chibok girls, identified five of the missing girls after watching the most recent video. “They were definitely our daughters… all we want is for the government to bring back our girls,” she said.
Activists and relatives of the girls held a demonstration in Abuja on April 14 to mark the second anniversary of the girls’ kidnap. According to the BBC, the protesters blamed the Nigerian government for not allocating the necessary resources to finding the girls.
Nigerian officials believe it is likely that the girls are still being kept in the Sambisa forest in northeastern Nigeria, which has been taken over by Boko Haram. The Nigerian army, using support from the United States, has conducted operations in northeastern Nigeria, and some, according to CNN, have been successful, but so far, the 219 girls remain missing.
Amnesty International Nigeria Country Director M.K. Ibrahim was among the protesters that gathered in Abuja on April 14. For Ibrahim, the march commemorated “all those abducted, killed and displaced” by Boko Haram. “Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram,” said Ibrahim.
An estimated 2.6 million people have been displaced in northeastern Nigeria because of Boko Haram. The terrorist group has also killed thousands of civilians, leveled towns and villages, and has abducted at least 2,000 people. Reports from those who have escaped or have been released describe forced marriage, rape, and sexual slavery. Some of these girls, many of whom are pregnant or have been forced to have children as a result of rape, no longer have homes to return to, or have been shunned by their communities, and are living in displacement camps.