News / Africa

Nigerian Women March for Rescue of Chibok Girls

Women attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue kidnapped schoolgirls, Abuja, Nigeria, April, 30. 2014.
Women attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue kidnapped schoolgirls, Abuja, Nigeria, April, 30. 2014.
Anne Look
It has been a little more than two weeks since gunmen raided a school in northeastern Nigeria and kidnapped more than 200 teenage girls from their dormitories.  Authorities aren't talking, as impatience mounts.  Several hundred people marched in Abuja Wednesday to demand answers and "concrete and visible" action from the federal government.  

Several hundred Nigerians - most of them women dressed in red - marched to the National Assembly with a message for the federal government.

An organizer of the march and former government minister, Oby Ezekwesili:

"We note that efforts may be going on, but what the women have come out today to say is that we want swift effort that has results.  And the only results that we know is a swift search and rescue operation and we want to see our daughters come back alive," said Ezekwesili.

As many as 230 of the schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok on April 14 are still missing.

Chibok is more than 1,200 kilometers from the capital.  Still, a few relatives of the abducted girls came for the rally.

A family member of one of the girls broke down.

"Bring them back, bring them back," she sobbed.  The women crowded around her in support.  Ezekwesili put an arm around her shoulders.

"What are we saying to our sister, we are saying we will stand with you until our daughters come back," said Ezekwesili.

Thunder and heavy rain did not stop the marchers, who sang as they moved down the street.

The federal government and the military have been silent in the past week on what, if anything, is being done to find the girls, an information blackout that, while not unusual here, has led many to characterize the government's response as "lackadaisical."

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.  It is being blamed on the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, whose five-year insurgency has killed thousands.  The sect has been known to kidnap young women for use as servants and spies.

The local press is reporting that some of the girls kidnapped from Chibok have already been sold as "wives" to combatants.

Community leaders in Chibok say they believe some of the girls have been moved across the border into Cameroon and Chad.

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