News / Africa

    100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

    Girls who escaped their Boko Haram captors arrive at presidential villa, Abuja, July 22, 2014.
    Girls who escaped their Boko Haram captors arrive at presidential villa, Abuja, July 22, 2014.
    Heather Murdock

    Nigerians are marking the 100th day since more than 200 girls were kidnapped from their schoolhouse in the war-torn northeast.  While the abduction sparked international outrage and support, the girls appear to be no closer to home than they were 100 days ago.

    In five years of Boko Haram insurgency and thousands of deaths in northeastern Nigeria, no crime has angered people in other parts of the country and around the world like the kidnapping of the girls on April 14.
     

    FILE - First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.FILE - First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.
    x
    FILE - First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.
    FILE - First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.

    Two weeks after the abduction, on a rainy afternoon, activists in Nigeria took to the streets demanding the immediate rescue of the girls.  Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie expressed support for the movement that later became known as Bring Back Our Girls and countries around the world pledged to help.
     
    Two months after the abduction, rallies continued almost every day and U.S. lawmakers visited Nigeria, adding their voices to the call for the girls’ rescue.  

    “Mothers and sisters, wives, girls, grandmothers and all of the men, we stand with the men, are pleading for the release of these girls and it is not too late,” said  Congresswoman Federica Wilson.
     
    Pakistani activist Malala in Nigeria

    Three months after the abduction, Pakistani girls education activist Malala Yousafzai came to Abuja to speak with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who told her his government was doing everything possible to find the girls.
     

    FILE - Malala Yousafzai shakes hands with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, July 14, 2014.FILE - Malala Yousafzai shakes hands with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, July 14, 2014.
    x
    FILE - Malala Yousafzai shakes hands with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, July 14, 2014.
    FILE - Malala Yousafzai shakes hands with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, July 14, 2014.

    “There are some difficulties, which he mentioned, such as that it is quite difficult to do a military operation as these girls can be targeted.  There is an idea of swapping, but it is a quite complicated situation to understand,” she said.
     
    She says the president promised to rescue the girls “as soon as possible."
     
    Few information

    And 100 days after the abduction, the public still knows nothing certain about the girls' condition or their whereabouts.

    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.
    x
    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.
    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.

    The only information comes from Boko Haram's leader, who said in a video they are being held captive as “slaves” and will not be returned unless the government swaps imprisoned militants for girls.
     
    "The sadder thing is the conversation between the citizens and our government leaves a lot to be desired.  Leaves a lot to be desired,” says Obi Ezekwelizi, one of the leaders of Bring Back Our Girls.
     
    Activists say they plan to continue near daily “sit-outs” in Abuja until the girls are rescued.  But the group and the kidnapped girls are also now in the center of Nigerian politics, with the government accusing Bring Back Our Girls of being agents of the opposition.  

    Optimism and fear

    In a statement, organizers of the Bring Back Our Girls social media campaign said the families and communities of the abducted girls had "suffered deep anguish [and are] seeking effective rescue to end peril that befell their daughters."

    Ahead of Wednesday's events, organizer Bukky Shonibare expressed optimism that the girls would be freed soon.

    "We believe that anything can happen swiftly, so if there is anything we expect from the president... it is for our girls to return now so that instead of commemorating day 100, we all come out jump on the street, dance and celebrate the gallant return of our girls," she said.

    The rallies are taking place a day after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan held his first meeting with some of the parents of the kidnapped girls, along with some of the girls who managed to escape.

    After the closed-door meeting in Abuja, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said Jonathan repeated his pledge to rescue the girls.

    Esther Yakubu, the mother of one of the abducted girls, said the Chibok community has been living in fear since the kidnappings.

    "Those that have wealth a bit, they leave entirely the Chibok land to another place to hide their life, but we that are poor we are the ones living there," she said. 

    In a statement, Bring Back Our Girls said its events on Wednesday include a "remembrance service" in Lagos and a candlelight vigil at the Nigerian consulate in New York.

    Some information for this report comes from Reuters.

    You May Like

    Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: prerogmy from: Atlanta, GA
    July 24, 2014 10:02 AM
    The only way for these girls to go home is to escape. Pres. Johnathan is no good, Abubakar Shekau is a retarded, booty-scratching, idiot flunkie for the American CIA, and Whites need to leave African for good.

    by: samuel from: liberia
    July 23, 2014 1:55 PM
    can this guys free this schoolgirl for us my people

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 23, 2014 1:41 PM
    So many people have expressed their views and support for the release of the kidnapped girls. However, that is only on paper, nothing concrete has come out of it. The Nigerian government, daft as it is, believes the Nigerian populace and the listening world are the same daft as it is, in that they think they are hiding under the guise of 'we are doing everything possible to get them back', while they go home, sit pretty and do nothing. If they are sure what they say about rescuing the girls and the importance of keeping their strategy secret, why are they revealing that they know where the girls are kept? There is so much politicking surrounding this matter and the best Nigerians know about it comes from rumor and grapevine. The US is behind us in Niger and Chad, and the only tangible effort has been made by Cameroon fighting to resist boko haram foothold in its territory.

    More than annoying is that when these articles are published and Nigerians and the world at large make suggestions what is going on, the possibly bought-over VOA obscures it from public knowledge so that yesterday I asked how much of the slush fund $1biillion borrowing will go into paying for all the effort to stifle public opinion concerning the issues in Nigeria, especially concerning the abducted schoolgirls, and how much will be paid as ransom money. 100 days and counting, the girls are still nowhere in the horizon, and boko haram is having a field day bombing more targets in a region that has witnessed high caliber visits of US lawmakers, UK diplomats and others.

    If we express our doubts what the Nigerian government is doing, VOA will hide it, maybe the forum box is included so that stupid people will ring out praises for a government that is adamant /insensitive to the plight of its people, a government that has allowed the same senselessness of boko haram to continue unabated because it is busy politicking and gambling with lives of citizens. But I will not stop writing, if only to continue to disturb those elements in VOA that hate security and peace of people in Nigeria with these comments.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.