Six Months Later Our Girls Haven’t Been Brought Back10/14/2014
by Ogechi Emechebe Today marks six months since over 250 girls in Nigeria were kidnapped. On t...
Today marks six months since over 250 girls in Nigeria were kidnapped. On the night of April 14th, 2014, hundreds of schoolgirls in the Chibok boarding school in northern Nigeria awoke to the sounds of gunfire. Within minutes, they found themselves being taken away from their school and village by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram.
Once the public became aware of the case, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls went viral and many cities held rallies in support of finding the girls. But six months later, not one girl has been rescued. The Nigerian government has made little effort to find the girls, and even lied when the news first broke, claiming they had all been found.Their image may be a larger priority, since the Nigerian government paid a Washington public relations firm more than $1.2 million to “change the international and local media narrative of the abduction,” according to a June report by The Hill. Although much progress hasn’t been made in their whereabouts, here are a few updates since the kidnapping:
- As baffling as it sounds, the exact number of girls missing is still unknown. Sources claim it ranges from 276 to 300, with some even reporting it may be more.
- 57 girls managed to escape within the first few days, but none have been rescued since then.
- Other countries that offered their assistance made little progress. The U.S. sent 80 troops in late May but six weeks later made an announcement that they don’t have a better idea today where the girls are than before
- The village of Chibok and neighboring areas have been attacked numerous times, with parts burned down and civilians violently killed. More than 2,600 people are reported to have been killed by Boko Haram since April 14, according to data provided by the Council on Foreign Relations
- At least 11 parents of the kidnapped girls have died. According to a report by the Huffington Post, seven fathers of the abducted girls were among 51 bodies that were brought to the Chibok hospital after an attack at a nearby village. At least four other parents died of heart failure, high blood pressure, trauma and other illnesses. One father, who had two of his daughters kidnapped, was reported to have went into a trance-like coma while repeating his daughters names until he died.
- A deal was supposedly made to free the girls but it fell apart three different times in one month.
The conversations, media coverage and hashtags have faded out and it’ll only be a matter of time before we leave these girls to fight a battle they can’t win without our attention and help. It has been six months since they were viciously snatched from their school and families.183 days since their parents last saw or heard of them. 4,392 hours of agony, brutality and the uncertainty of what tomorrow brings. And 11 parents who died of a broken heart.
We must let these girls know we hear their screams for help and feel the tears they shed. We must let their parents know we won’t allow another night to pass where they are suffocating in their sleep from the pain, trauma and stress of not knowing where their daughters are. We must stop the growing hole in their hearts before it consumes them entirely. And we must not keep silent on this issue; we must speak, demand answers and be the voices for those who have been silenced. We cannot fail our sisters any longer. We must bring back our girls.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
Ogechi Emechebe is a journalism major that loves reporting on issues such as gender equality, social justice and healthy lifestyles. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, working out and cooking. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.