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The 200 kidnapped girls who shook the world

May 13, 2014 15:29 IST

The 200 kidnapped girls who shook the world

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Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram has left the world shocked with the kidnap of 257 schoolgirls from a secondary school. The abductions have spurred a global online #BringBackOurGirls campaign, with the hashtag hitting over a million tweets.

But plight of the girls continues to haunt Africa’s most populous nation. The story so far...  

Dozens of young girls are seen sitting together wearing grey burqas and chanting verses from the Quran in Arabic. Some among them are Christians and say that they have converted to Islam.

A video released on Monday by the deadly Boko Haram shows a footage of what the terror group claims are some the more than 200 schoolgirls from Nigeria it kidnapped a month ago.

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Image: Activists pause during a prayer vigil for abducted Nigerian schoolgirls in front of the Consulate General of Nigeria in Manhattan, New York
Photographs: Gaia Squarci/Reuters

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What’s even more disturbing is the interrogation of the two girls in the video. One of them was asked, ‘Why have you become a Muslim?”  

“The reason why I became a Muslim is because the path we are on is not the right path,” the teenage girl, wearing a grey veil said nervously. She added that her name was changed to Halima after she converted to Islam.

A second girl was asked if they had been ill-treated. No, she replied adding that they had experience nothing “except righteousness.”

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Image: On Monday, Boko Haram released a video of the girls they claimed to have abducted

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In the video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau makes a demand: He won't release the girls "until after you release our brethren." But, Nigeria on Tuesday insisted it will not agree to a request to free imprisoned Islamic militants.

This second video comes five days after Shekau, who claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, threatened “sell them in the marketplace”. 

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Image: US First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a picture of herself highlighting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign


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The fate of the girls has left Nigeria restless over the government’s inaction. While fifty-three girls managed to escape and 276 remain missing, police say.

Nigerian lawyer Ibrahim M Abdullahi started the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, a campaign that has turned global. 

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Image: Amnesty International holds a vigil for the abducted girls in Washington DC
Photographs: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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On May 7, United States First Lady Michelle Obama joined the online protest posting a picture of herself on photo-sharing site Instagram holding a piece of paper with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Pakistan’s Malala Yosufzai has also come out in support.

Even as failure of the Nigeria’s government to rescue to girls has around outrage at home and abroad, its government remains defiant. Scorning the swap offer by Boko Haram, it said on Tuesday that will not agree to a request to free imprisoned Islamic militants.


Image: A man holds a placard as youths protest the release of abducted school girls in the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos
Photographs: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

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Pakistan’s Malala Yosufzai joins the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

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Churchgoers pray for the release of secondary school girls abducted from in the remote village of Chibok, at an Evangelical Church of West Africa church in Abuja. Nigeria's army has posted two divisions to hunt for 200 schoolgirls abducted last month by Islamist rebels in an attack condemned globally.




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