Home Featured Nigeria marks 3 years since Chibok girls’ kidnapping
Nigeria marks 3 years since Chibok girls’ kidnapping

Nigeria marks 3 years since Chibok girls’ kidnapping


Nigeria is marking three years since over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from a remote town in the northeast of the country.

On the night of April 14, 2014, Boko Haram militants swept into Chibok in Borno State and kidnapped 276 girls, mostly aged between 16 and 18, from their secondary school. About 50 of the girls managed to escape.

For more than two years there was no sign of the girls, whose kidnapping from their school at night sparked global outrage and a celebrity-backed campaign #bringbackourgirls.

But the discovery of one of them with a baby last May fuelled hopes for their safety, with a further two girls found in later months and a group of 21 released in October in a deal brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross.

Nigeria‘s government and military had faced heavy criticism for their handling of the incident, with towns and cities across the nation witnessing protests. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who declined to comment on the kidnappings for almost three weeks, was criticised, and became the first sitting Nigerian president to lose an election, in 2015.

Jonathan’s successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, ordered a new investigation into the abductions in January 2016.

Buhari has said he is committed to ensuring the Chibok girls are reunited with their families, and the state says Boko Haram are willing to negotiate the release of more girls.

About 2,000 girls and boys have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014, according to Amnesty International, which says they are used as cooks, sex slaves, fighters and even suicide bombers.

The militant group is demanding the adoption of sharia, or Islamic law, in all of Nigeria, but a regional offensive against them last year drove the insurgents from most of their traditional strongholds, denying them their dream of an Islamic emirate in northeastern Nigeria.

Now, increasingly on the back foot, Boko Haram is retaliating with a deadly guerrilla campaign against civilians.

%d bloggers like this: