On this #throwbackthursday, let's take a somber look back at April 2014, when 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria. It spurred the #bringbackourgirls campaign that was publicised by people around the world, including Michelle Obama. This kidnapping was a horrible act of terror commited by the group known as Boko Haram, or "Western education is forbidden", because of the radical teachings of its leader.
The kidnapping of schoolgirls was just a speck on the radar when it came to Boko Haram's actions, and even international publicity didn't slow the terrorist group. The U.S. has sent basic military aid to Nigeria but it is mostly to train soldiers there rather than to fight alongside of them - which has not produced effective results. Boko Haram continues to wage attacks, one of which killed 30 people and resulted in the abduction of many women and children just 4 weeks ago.
The women who are kidnapped by Boko Haram are forcibly wed to their captors or held as sex slaves. Many become pregnant due to rape. Some are even trained as militants and forced to carry out suicide bombings. For those who are lucky enough to survive and escape, their hometowns stigmatize them and the children they bear as bringing "bad blood" into the towns. The trauma they endured at the Boko Haram camps make it hard to come back to "normal" life. And because of the bad blood stigma, most, if not all, have a difficult time being accepted as community members by the rest of the towns. However, this does not mean that the villagers don't care about the horrors they have gone through.
The people of Nigeria are fed up and fighting back. Militant groups have formed to fight Boko Haram, and 2 weeks ago they teamed up with the Camaroon army; it was reported that nearly 100 members of Boko Haram were killed and 850 captured villagers were freed.
The atrocities of Boko Haram cannot be reduced to one singular April 2014 event - the violence still wages daily, and it is our responsibility to keep this story relevant to help bring much needed attention to this situation! Share this article on Facebook, retweet it, and even post about it on Instagram and tag us!