This summer, the twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls went viral, as the average person and celebrities were tweeting the message in order to gain attention for the abductions in Nigeria. The militant Islamic group Boko Haram was behind the abductions, in an attempt to reduce the amount of children that were receiving a Western Education and to convert Christians to Islam. Boko Haram is responsible for over 500 kidnappings in the area since 2009.
Despite the millions tweeting the message to “bring back our girls,” the abducted were never brought back, and were treated poorly. They were forced to marry their captors, covert religions, and carry ammunition for the soldiers. According to an article by Time, sexual abuse hardly occurred outside of marriages, but due to the forced marriages faced by the girls, sexual abuse was prominent during their time captured. Only a few of the girls that were captured in April have escaped, and most still remain with Boko Haram. They also are the only group that is currently given medical and mental healthcare.
While the capture of the Chibok schoolgirls was the largest by the group, there have been many other kidnaps, especially now. Last week, forty more girls (and some boys) were captured and the week before, over eighty.
People are now becoming concerned, because before these new attacks had taken place, Boko Haram and the Nigerian military had agreed upon a ceasefire, and that the girls would be returned. However, there have been more kidnappings and have been several armed conflicts between the army and the group. The Nigerian Airforce bombed a Boko Haram post, and troops on the ground fired at them. Boko Haram is also assumed to be responsible for a car bomb that killed five and injured twelve.
Not only has this affected those kidnapped and their families, but also affects those who do not practice Islam. Over 700,000 people have left Nigeria, and alone, Catholics make up about fourteen percent. People that have fled might have found solace in other countries, many have not, and have been forced to hide in the woods and in caves, where they face other obstacles, such as disease and starvation.
All of this leads to questions such as how does a government that is facing extreme terrorist activity care for its people? When will other organizations take some part in preventing further action by Boko Haram? And the biggest question of all: when will these girls be released from captivity?