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02 May 2014

Bring back our Nigerian girls

Bring back our Nigerian girls

Image credit: Twitter.com/Imahephzibah

With the attention of the world now on the recent mass kidnapping of 230 Nigerian teenage girls, many are asking why it has taken so long for action to be taken.

On Wednesday, Nigerian protesters wearing red marched on parliament in Abuja, carrying placards reading 'find our daughters'. All were demanding that the government and military do more to rescue the scores of schoolgirls still missing. A global campaign has launched pleading to #BringBackOurGirls.

Many are accusing the military of having no coherent search-and-rescue plan. Pogu Bitrus, leader of Chibok's elders forum, said it was "unbelievable" that the military, which claims to be working around-the-clock to find the hostages, had not yet tracked down any of the kidnappers.

Itis believed that insurgents from an Islamist group with connections to al-Qaida, Boko Haram, were responsible for abducting the girls from Chibok, a Christian-majority area of northern Nigeria nearly two weeks ago.

On 14 April, suspected members of Boko Haram forced their way into a secondary school and abducted around 230 female students. They were driven deep into the Sambisa forest. While 40 girls managed to escape, the rest are still missing.

Amnesty International tells of this terrorist group being caught up in conflict with Nigerian forces, resulting in the killings of around 1,500 people so far this year. This is one of the most shocking attacks in the five year extremist uprising that has killed so many across the north of the country.

The Guardian reported that one father of one of the kidnapped school girls voiced hope that protesters drawing attention to his nightmare near the seat of government could make a difference: "We believe if Nigerians, the high and the low, raise their voices from different quarters it will make the government sit up and do the right thing to free our girls."

It is feared some may have also been forcibly married off to some members of the group or to other Muslim men. It is also thought that many will be forced to convert and that some might have been taken across Lake Chad and into neighbouring Cameroon.

Many human rights organisations are campaigning for their release and Alliance member organisation Open Doors are asking Christians around the world to join them in prayer and fasting for the safe release of the girls. They are also inviting people to leave a message of prayer and comfort online which they will ensure reaches the traumatised families.