Because the movement #BringBackOurGirls faded from headlines and social media posts, many assume the problem was resolved. April 15th marked the second anniversary of the kidnapping of almost 300 girls from their school in Borno State, Nigeria by terrorist organization Boko Haram. Two years later, 219 are still missing, and on April 15th, Boko Haram released a “proof of life” video in attempt to negotiate with the Nigerian government.
Loosely translated, Boko Haram is believed to mean “Western education is forbidden.” Allied with ISIS, Boko Haram has pursued the establishment of an Islamic caliphate within Nigeria for several years. Boko Haram was involved in widespread student abduction, suicide attacks, targeted killings, burning, and looting in the Borno, Yobe, and Kano states. Recently, the group augmented its assault on schools because the Nigerian Security Forces use schools for military purposes.
The Chibok girls are not the only large group of students to have fallen victim to Boko Haram. In November of 2014, 300 students ranging from age seven to seventeen were captured at the Zanna Mobarti Primary School, also in Borno State. Two years later, most of these 300 students have yet to be released while others are believed to be dead.
Media presence on incidents like these is minimal. Nigerian forces are dealing with the terrorist threats by refusing asylum to refugees trying to enter from neighboring states out of fear that Boko Haram insurgents are among these refugees.
Boko Haram allegedly shot this “proof of life” video last Christmas. In it, fifteen of the missing school girls–all of whom had formerly been Christian–dressed in long hijabs and were asked to voice their names, their school, and where they had been kidnapped. The Nigerian government received it in January and refused to show it to any of the missing children’s parents, in hopes of verifying its legitimacy first. At the end of the video, one of the girls delivered her scripted line assuring the audience that all of the girls were safe and urging Nigerian authorities to reunite them with their families. She also stated the alleged date of the recording—December 25th 2015. Two of the mothers that CNN showed the video to were able to identify their daughters while a third mother became distressed in her inability to do the same
The death of a hash tag should not indicate the resolution of the problem. International support for a return of the Chibok girls as well as the captives from the Zanna Mobarti Primary and other Boko Haram abductions cannot die out.