Boko Haram militants attacked dormitories at a secondary school in the Borno state Chibok on April 14th, 2014, which forced many schools to shut down. Many of these 219 kidnapped students, aged 12 to 17, were Christians. Over 60 of these girls have escaped or were released, and around 100 remain captive.
After this attack, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign (BBOG) started and issued the following demands: improved communications with Nigerian security on daily briefings about rescues of abducted girls, creation of communication channels that help inform the public about safety measures to protect Nigerian citizens, provision of rehabilitation services to all rescued or abducted girls, protection of school-aged children from future abductions and sexual violence, and passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill.
And recently, after almost four years, a Nigerian girl, Salomi Pogu, was rescued near a Pulka Village in Borno on January 4th, along with another woman and her child. The government enrolled the rescued girls at a Nigerian university and paid their tuition, according to the New York Times.
Boko Haram released a new video on January 15th. The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, appears in the video and discusses how they kidnapped these girls due to Boko Haram’s beliefs about education – the group’s name means “Western Education is Forbidden” in the local Hausa dialect.
“We captured the Chibok girls while they were being taught western education. They realized that western education, its rules and regulations that you taught them, is bad,” Shekau said.
Dr. Manasseh, a frontline member of BBOG, believes Boko Haram coerced the girls into appearing in the video, which Boko Haram used as propaganda. He believes the girls would return home if they were given the choice and feels that the Nigerian government should step in.
“You remember one of the Chibok girls was found recently and a number of them rescued are here with us. We know their stories, and we cannot be deceived by the new video,” Manasseh said.
These girls vowed they would not return home because they had converted to Islam, Sahara Reporters states.
“We are the Chibok girls,” one of the girls says in Hausa language in the video. “We are the ones you are crying about for us to come back. By the grace of Allah, we are never coming back.”
A day after the video’s release, Boko Haram killed nine people in two separate attacks – one in a Jinene village and the other near Pallam village in the Madagali area, according to ANI News. A militia leader from Gamboru, a town near Ngala, said jihadists arrived on motorcycles, abducted five girls, and targeted loggers. The next day, January 17th, suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 12 and injured 48 people at a market in Maiduguri, a Nigerian city.
Nigeria has fought Boko Haram since 2011. The State Department urged Nigeria to counter the extremist group through a law enforcement, political efforts, development efforts, and military engagement, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Officials believe the group may have connections with northwest Africa-based al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Somalia’s al-Shabab, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
However, Nigeria fights back – the Nigerian Air Force destroyed an emerging Boko Haram vehicle workshop in the Sambisa general area on January 17th and killed a few of the militant organization’s members.
Although some of the kidnapped girls have been released, Boko Haram continues gaining power through attacks and videos and still holds women and girls hostage. Nigeria still faces pressure from the terrorist group, yet the trend may reverse if the country increases defensive efforts.
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