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

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs