Remember #BringBackOurGirls? Barely Anything’s Happened In 800 Days
Eight hundred days after Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their boarding school in the remote town of Chibok, spurring international outrage and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, the government has not rescued a single girl.
Bring Back Our Girls organizersreleased a statement Thursday slamming Nigerian authorities for failing to make any progress in finding the girls. They also took issue with the lack of information available to the public.
In May, 18-year-old Amina Ali Nkeki was found with her 4-month-old child wandering in the Sambisa Forest, malnourished and limping. Reports say Ali was the first of the Chibok girls to escape from marriage or slavery with Boko Haram fighters; about 57 students were able to slip away nearly immediately after the terrorists took siege of the school. This leaves the total number of girls still missing at 218.
Disturbingly, Ali has not even been reunited with her family yet—despite the fact she’s been rescued for more than a month. She was flown to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and for evaluation and debriefing.
“It had been presumed that Ali would be debriefed by state security agents for information that could lead to a rescue operation, and that she would receive psychosocial care,” AP reported.
The governor for Chibok had reportedly welcomed Ali and her baby to his home, treating her like a “VIP guest,” according to CNN.
However, Bring Back Our Girls organizers Aisha Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili said in their statement that Ali’s family does not have any idea where Ali is or how she is doing.
“We … assert that one month after the promises were made, it is proper that the Federal Government should share what specific program is on-going for Ms. Ali’s, her child and her mother’s wellbeing,” the statement read. “Extremely important to us are what plans have been made for her eventual return to complete her education.”
The movement organizers also blasted the Nigerian government for failing to find the schoolgirls still kidnapped—whom many believe have been sold into slaveryfor as little as $10 each. On the two-year anniversary of the capture in April, they said:
“The truth must be told: Nigeria has disappointingly failed those 219 schoolgirls for too long. Two years is unacceptably a long time for young women to be left as captives of terrorists. Not only Nigeria, but the world has failed our girls. We all as humanity have failed our girls in not doing all we can to ensure their rescue these past 731 days.”
CNN interviewed a neighbor that witnessed the brief reunion between Ali and her mother before she was taken away again by the army.
“She was full of happiness but at the same time seeing the situation of her daughter, who is a Christian, with a baby and a Boko Haram husband and wearing a hijab, she was just crying bitterly,” said the neighbor.
“Even Amina was comforting her mother saying she should be happy to see her alive. She was very happy to see her but she was also very sad.”
President Obama and the First Lady were vocal advocates in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Thousands of tweets bore the hashtag, and celebrities around the world came out in support of the abducted Chibok girls.
Where is the outrage now? The world may have forgotten about them, but we must always remember that 218 valuable girls with intelligence and potential now live unimaginable lives of slavery under Islamic law.
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