It has been 16 days since 234 Nigerian schoolgirls went missing. The possible plight of the girls’ whereabouts has sent fears and community search crews across Nigeria.
Samson Dawah nervously waited to receive updates regarding his niece, one of the girls likely kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group. This week as he gathered his extened family to share what he has learned, he asked that all elderly members be absent.
“We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls,” he told them. “They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants.”
The girl’s father fainted and is currently hospitalized, the Guardian reported. The families learned that mass marriages occurred on this past Saturday and Sunday. The group reportedly shot their guns into the air after taking their new brides. They were then reportedly moved out by truckload, according to The Washington Post.
On April 14, armed militants infiltrated a dormitory in Chibok at night, captured hundreds of girls, and disappeared. The school where the girls (ages 15-18) were kidnapped was the only one left open as Northeast Nigeria has been in a state of emergency for the past year, wrote the Guardian.
“From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” Village elder Pogo Bitrus told Agence France Presse. He also stated locals spoke with “various sources” in the nation’s forested northeast community. Each girl was allegedly sold for $12 (2,000 naira) to Islamists militants.
According to estimates in journalistic and Amnesty International reports, the militant group has killed at least 2,300 people since 2010 and 1,500 people have died in 2014 over sectarian violence between Muslim and Christians. But the reported kidnapping and sale of Nigerian school girls is the most disturbing action Nigeria has witnessed.
Efforts from The Washington Post to verify claims were not successful and the Nigerian Defense Ministry did not immediately offer comment.
“My wife keeps asking me, why isn’t the government deploying every means to find our children,” said Dawah.
“All we want from the government is to help us bring our children back,” one father, Pogu Yaga cried.
According to a report by Voice of America, the Boko Haram terrorists are threatening to kill the girls if the search operations aren’t called off.
The issue has ignited concern from the highest of British Society.
“We cannot stop terrorism overnight,” said former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who plans to visit Nigeria. “But we can make sure that its perpetrators are aware that murdering and abducting school children is a heinous crime that the international authorities are determined to punish.”
A social media campaign was born in wake of the breaking news, #BringBackOurDaughters.