It’s been 500 days since over 200 girls were abducted from the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants on April 14, 2014, and most of them remain in captivity with their whereabouts unknown.
The incident led to global outrage and resulted in the creation of a hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, which eventually escalated into a movement.
However, the movement, despite bringing worldwide attention to the girls’ plight, seems to also have singled them out for special attention from the terrorists.
This differentiation has its advantages, since it might ensure the girls’ safety, but it may also be the reason why they are still being held captive.
Since the abduction, numerous reports of negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have arisen and for each one, the Chibok girls have been used as a bargaining chip.
One such report, related to The Associated Press by an unnamed activist in July 2015, stated that the sect was willing to let the girls go free if the government would release 16 of its commanders who had been imprisoned for their connections to terrorism.
President Muhammadu Buhari said during an interview on CNN in July that he would not hesitate to negotiate with the terrorists if it meant the girls would be released.
The terrorists have access to the media too and they must have realized that the fate of the world-famous Chibok girls lies in their hands.
A former Boko Haram captive, Mbutu Papka, told the International Centre for Investigative Reporting after her release that the girls were being held under tight security in Gwoza, a community in Borno State.
“In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept. The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter,” she said.
She also said that no one was allowed near the girls’ specific location and that it was heavily guarded at all times.
The special status of the missing girls became even more obvious when the Nigerian Army rescued a large of group of captives from the sect in April and the major question on most people’s minds was “Is it the Chibok girls?”
According to Amnesty International, Boko Haram has abducted about 2000 girls and women since the beginning of 2014 but of all these, only the Chibok girls have stood out because of the global outcry for their release.
The efforts of the #BringBackOurGirls group (led by former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili,) and their continued cries for the girls’ release cannot be taken lightly and must be commended but still, 500 days after the abduction, one is forced to ask: has the movement been beneficial to the girls or is it contributing to their continued captivity?
[INSECURITY] Chibok Girls,500 Days After
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