Wednesday, May 07, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls, A Timeline

April 14th: Mass Abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria. At the time the abductors were unknown, all that was known was that they took the girls from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Borno State, Nigeria and that they took between 230 and 276 girls (different accounts have different figures). At the same time they also burned the school's food supplies, and razed the building. The girls are believed to be between 16 and 18 years old.

April 30th: Rumors begin circling that a local extremist group called Boko Haram has kidnapped the girls and sold them for $12 as "brides".

May 4th: After weeks of silence on the subject a Social Media outcry has begun, which leads to the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, vowing to rescue the girls. "Wherever these girls are, we'll get them out," Jonathan says.

May 5th: Although her husband claimed the day before that they would do anything possible to find the girls, the Nigerian First Lady orders the arrest of the protest leader that was calling for the return of the girls.

Also on May 5th: The Nigerian government has failed to at least determine who kidnapped the girls, and all the knowledge so far is based on rumors. However, on May 5th the leader of the terrorist and extremist group Boko Haram admits to the kidnapping. At the same time, he vows to kidnap more girls, and to sell them and force them to marry.

May 6th: Boko Haram makes good on its promise and kidnaps 8 to 11 more girls. The girls are reportedly between 12 and 15 years old. 

Boko Haram is an extremist group whose name means, literally, "Western Education is Sinful". The group is rumored to have ties to Al-Qaeda, and this act is only one of many in the last 5 years they've engaged in, in order to stop education in Nigeria. They've previously burned schools to the ground, raided them, killed teachers and students and staff on sight, and have previously also kidnapped teachers. They may be taken a page out of Joseph Kony's book, whose Lord Resistance army abducted 139 schoolgirls back in 1996. It took 10 years to rescue all of the girls who survived.

Also on May 6th: The White House announces that it's going to send a team to Nigeria to help the government in find the girls. The team will include military personnel, and intelligence and hostage negotiators.

As of today, May 7th, nothing else has happened. But it is clear that had it not been for the Social Media outcry that occurred, international attention to the issue would be non-existent. So what can you do? There is a Change.Org petition you can sign. Also, the Facebook page of Bring Back Our Girls posted this:

And long term? Support the education of girls world wide through organizations such as Developments in Literacy, and the Campaign for Female Education. Events like these abductions, or the Shooting of Malala, only occur because extremists oppose the education of girls, probably because the best way to stop extremism is through education itself.

Further Reading:



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