8 More Nigerian Schoolgirls Kidnapped By Militant Group Boko Haram
Three weeks after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, eight more schoolgirls were taken Monday night, apparently also by militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Police and residents claim the rebels shot their guns into Warabe, a small village in northeast Nigeria — close to a region Boko Haram has strong control over — and the girls were hauled away in army-colored trucks. In a video released Monday, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for abducting the schoolgirls, and added that they're planning to take even more girls.
According to Shekau, the girls abducted are now slaves, and will be sold as such. Recent reports suggest all the kidnapped girls are being forced to marry one of their abductors or sold in Chad or Cameroon, which neighbors Nigeria. To date, 53 girls have managed to escape, but more than 200 remain missing.
The lack of prompt action from the Nigerian government has sparked an international firestorm. Twitter hashtags #BringBackOurGirls, #BringOurGirlsBack, and #BringBackOurDaughters have been trending for days, bringing widespread attention to the issue, and placing pressure on the Nigerian government to do more. So far, the United States and United Kingdom are offering to help find the abducted girls, although no specific details have been released.
There's a petition circulating around the world on Change.org, which has been signed 288,669 times as of Tuesday morning. There's also a We The People petition online, calling for the United Nations and the Nigerian Government to find the abducted girls. So far, that petition has received 84,109 signatures.
As previously reported by Bustle:
It’s strange, but typically brazen, of Boko Haram to take responsibility for the kidnappings now, when everyone already knew they were the ones to blame. Boko Haram is Hausa for “Western Education is Sinful,” or “Western Education is Forbidden,” which should be your first tip-off that they’re behind the recent attacks on schoolchildren in the area that have had the intended effect of shuttering local schools out of fear for children’s safety.
In February, Boko Haram killed 59 boys at a school in the same region. In fact, the boarding school where the Chibok students were studying was the only one open in the area when Boko Haram attacked. The students were there to take end-of-year exams.
In a story that just keeps getting more heartbreaking, the women were reportedly sold to their captors as wives for about $12 a person. And “wife” is definitely the wrong term; Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who runs a women’s shelter in Uganda, told Time that “marriage” was a euphemism for a much more universal crime against women: "This is not marriage. They are being given in sex slavery. This is human trafficking. We should call evil by its name."