News / Africa

Who are Nigeria’s Kidnapped Schoolgirls?

Protesters march in front of the Nigerian embassy in northwest Washington, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, protesting the kidnapping of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls, abducted from a school in the remote northeast of Nigeria three weeks ago.
Protesters march in front of the Nigerian embassy in northwest Washington, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, protesting the kidnapping of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls, abducted from a school in the remote northeast of Nigeria three weeks ago.
Heather Murdock
— Nearly four weeks after hundreds of teenage girls were kidnapped from their schoolhouse in northeast Nigeria, there are few verified details about who the girls are or  where they might be. 

Nigerians said the missing girls — believed to be hidden in the forest, held captive by Islamist militants who regard them as slaves — are the daughters of their country.
 
“We don’t need to have carried them in our wombs for those children to be called our own," a protester said. "They are our daughters and what we are saying is, 'Bring back our girls!'"
 
But who exactly are they? Authorities have said 276 are still missing but have not provided a list of names or other identifying details. For the most part, the girls' families have not released the names, either.

Ade Ogundeyin, who heads Proforce, a Nigerian security company, said one explanation for the confusion is possible social stigma: families assume the missing girls are being raped, and they do not want their daughters to be viewed as "dirty."

“People do not like coming out to mention their names — the names of a certain person that’s missing — because of the effect that it has on the family setup in Nigeria,” he said.
 
Another possibility is that in northeast Nigeria — deeply impoverished, poorly developed and devastated by the five-year-long Boko Haram insurgency — detailed school attendance records are not a priority.
 
This may be why local officials say they don’t know exactly how many girls were taken or how many are still missing.
 
“Do they even have the list of girls in that particular school? That’s a question you should even ask yourself. And yes, people showed up from different schools. Was that supposed to be? So there’s a bit of confusion there,” said Ogundeyin.
 
On May 4, the Northern States Christian and Elders Forum sent out a list of 180 missing girls, saying most of the victims are Christian. But that list only contributed to controversy, since no one knew the source of the names that were distributed.
 
Activists contend the girls should not be identified by religion, lest other groups lose interest in saving them.
 
Over the past five years, Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in attacks on schools, churches, mosques, marketplaces and many other targets. Hundreds of school children have been slaughtered, and 1,500 people have been killed this year alone.
 
In a video, Abubakar Shekau, the man who said he leads Boko Haram, claimed to be holding the girls as slaves to be sold into marriage.

The video does not include pictures or video of any girls.
  • Former French first ladies Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (left) and Valerie Trierweiler (right) stand with politicians and entertainment artists holding a banner that reads "Leaders, bring back our girls" during a demonstration near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, May 13, 2014.
  • Former French first lady Valerie Trierweiler stands near a placard that reads "Bring back our girls" during a demonstration to pressure government leaders to help search for the Nigerian schoolgirls, near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, May 13, 2014. 
  • Nigerians take part in a protest, called by Malaga's Nigerian women Association, for the release of the abducted schoolgirls, at La Merced square in Malaga, southern Spain May 13, 2014. 
  • Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman (left), Director General, National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri (center) Frank Mba National police spokesman attend a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, May 12, 2014.
  • Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, speaks to the camera in a video released by the extremist militant group, May 12, 2014.
  • This video released by the extremist militant group, Boko Haram, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok, May 12, 2014.
  • Demonstrators carry a banner with an image of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau as they demand the release of the abducted schoolgirls, Lagos, Nigeria, May 12, 2014.
  • Protesters demonstrate against the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in Nigeria, outside the Nigerian Embassy, London May 9, 2014.
  • A sign is pinned to a tree during a demonstration against the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria, outside the Nigerian Embassy, in London, May 9, 2014. 
  • People carry signs as they attend a protest demanding the release of the schoolgirls who were abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos, May 9, 2014.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Doris Wolfgang from: Germany
May 10, 2014 1:41 AM
Some hard FACTS, VOA refuses to print:

1. Obama administration responsible for resurgence of Al Qaeda groups (LIFG, AQIM) in Africa which in turn arm and support Boko Haram.

2.USA State Department refuses to place Boko Haram on terrorist list for 2 years despite intense pressure.

3. Weapons flowed from Obama supported Libyan rebels to Boko Haram.

4. Algerian support for Algerian junta, which controls AQIM, has also aided Boko Haram.

TELL THE REAL STORY, VOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Response

by: John Poole from: Ardmore, PA
May 11, 2014 1:35 PM
Yes indeed. It is a mess out there in the real world- not the one the Main Stream Press wants us to swallow. When Western culture first "colonized" Africa we did it under the banner of Christianity to the ignorant black folks. One can understand why any useful secular baggage from those days would be rejected by those who now want to get revenge for all the evangelical early work. A mess! Get used to it. This is Earth circa 2014 where the inhabitants are doing the usual thing- killing and enslaving under the lamest ideology and ethos.


by: Bill Hash from: Cleveland Ohio
May 09, 2014 4:48 PM
20 million poisoned in the Niger delta by Oil companies. U.S. no comment.Christen girls kidnapped, now we care.

In Response

by: Phil K from: Newcastle UK
May 11, 2014 1:26 AM
Typical politically correct muslim apologist (who don't apologize, just grovel to islamist extremist bigots)

In Response

by: Pop from: California
May 10, 2014 9:47 AM
yes , both situations are bad .. but WE DO CARE. #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS

In Response

by: John Poole from: Ardmore, PA
May 10, 2014 8:34 AM
Why are Nigerian girls in a Muslim nation being introduced to Christianity? That misguided effort seems cruel. I doubt that any who miraculously became self actualizing would find a Westernized useful role in today's Nigeria.


by: Michael forward from: lagos, nigeria
May 09, 2014 4:16 PM
God please save us from this TERRORISTS... And also. Please the nigerians forces, prove your ability on this case n may God assist you.... AMEN.


by: ray from: las vegas
May 09, 2014 3:09 PM
Our Navy Seals should save them

In Response

by: iNSIDER from: usa
May 10, 2014 1:43 AM
Not if Hillary Clinton lies to everyone, and the FACT that the CIA had Seal Team sixes helicopter shot down. WAKE UP!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid