Girls Abducted Are Ages 11-19
The Nigerian government finally disclosed the names of 110 abducted girls in last week’s raid on a school in the north-eastern part of the country.
The names of the missing girls, some as young as 11 years old, were verified by school administrators and local authorities.
Boko Haram militant group was blamed for the mass abduction of the girls from the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi.
This is not the first time that Boko Haram militants raided a school that led to kidnappings of young girls in the African country. In April 2014, the extremist group kidnapped over 200 girls in Chibok, sparking international condemnation and outrage. Many of the Chibok girls were freed after negotiations, but more than 100 remain in captivity, their whereabouts unknown.
Search For the Girls Continues
Search for the missing girls is still underway. Fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes have all been deployed in the search for the girls. The Nigerian Air Force responded with a sense of immediacy and had flown a total of 200 hours while searching for the girls.
The kidnappings of the girls caused widespread unrest in the country and received backlash from the international community as well. In fact, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has promised the families of the missing girls that they’ll be found and their attackers brought to justice.
Buhari called the situation a “national disaster” and said in a Twitter statement, “We are sorry that it happened; we share your pain. Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls.”
Witnesses say the extremist group invaded the girls’ school on Monday night in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Yobe state.
The attack made some teachers and girls run into the bush and other villages and some headed for their homes.
Mohammed Bilal, an Islamic studies teacher at the school, said the extremists arrived about 5:30 p.m. in the village.
“The girls were in dorms and I was in my dorm when we heard gunshots and screaming,” he said. “I didn’t see where they were coming from.”
Looking back: The Kidnappings That Shocked The World
On April 2014, Boko Haram raided the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state. The raid ended with the abduction of 276 girls. The news spread like wildfire and stirred condemnation from the international community.
The abduction drew an international campaign for the return of the girls. US First Lady Michelle Obama initiated the campaign. Later, the campaign became a worldwide phenomenon when Hollywood stars started to enter the campaign.
Following the abduction three years ago, 50 girls escaped from the kidnappers. After negotiations with the Red Cross in October 2015, the terrorist group freed another 21 Chibok girls.
News spread that during the captivity, Christian Chibok girls were were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers.