The families of more than 230 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist insurgents more than 10 days ago say they are fast losing hope of seeing their daughters again despite government assurances they will be found.
The mass abduction of the girls watched over by government soldiers is the most devastating in a series of recent attacks on state schools – and comes as the government debates extending a year-long state of emergency across three north-eastern states from which the militants have operated for five years. On the same day as the kidnappings, a massive bombing by Boko Haram insurgents killed more than 75 commuters hundreds of miles south on the outskirts of the capital.
The girls, who were mostly between 16 and 18 years old, were rounded up at gunpoint after militants overpowered a military guard assigned to a boarding school in Chibok, in north-eastern Borno state. They had just finished their final school exams. The school was the only one still open in the area following threats and attacks by Boko Haram, whose ideology opposes both so-called western education, and particularly women's education.This kidnapping of 234 girls taking a physics exam was brought to you by Boko Haram, whose name translates to "Western education is sinful". Can't have those ladyfolk learning -- next thing you know, they'll start getting ideas above their station and want to be more than obedient baby factories. It seems the men running Boko Haram would prefer living in a simpler time when their way of life and behavior would go unchallenged, rather than this modern, increasingly secular world. Would this be an awkward time to remind them that the good ol' days weren't actually all that good?
Unfortunately, unlike certain tragic events in South Korea or Malaysia, coverage of the kidnappings largely has been relegated to the back burner. The people of Nigeria are uniting against Boko Haram, even as the country's military makes a fool of itself and the government does little but wring its hands and call more meetings. What can those outside Nigeria do? It's not much, but watch this video and sign this petition. Every little bit helps.