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#BringBackOurGirls

Thousands of protesters fight for support for the girls.

Thousands of protesters fight for support for the girls.

Shelby Billman, Staff Writer

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Terrorist group Boko Haram and Nigeria have reached a cease-fire agreement that will include the release of the over 200 Chibok school girls kidnapped earlier this year. On the surface it seems as though the global mission of #BringBackOurGirls is really happening, but Chibok government officials are skeptical. There have been several times in which the Nigerian government has promised that negotiations were in place, but these fell through. Further suspicions arise from the fact that even though cease-fire agreements have been reached, Boko Haram fighters have attacked two towns near the border of Niger since then. Also, very few of the parents of these kidnapped girls trust President Goodluck Johnson’s motives in bringing back the girls as it comes close to his re-election. The actual provisions of the cease-fire are also somewhat dubious in nature. Boko Haram has promised the release of the girls, but only in waves. The whole group of 200 will not return all at once. This is in exchange for the chieftain prisoners that the Nigerian army has taken from Boko Haram.

This conflict has been long in the making beginning with the Westernization of Nigeria and Boko Haram’s discontent with the removal of traditional Sharia law. There have long been attacks and raids on various cities throughout Africa in attempt to once again impose traditional Islam and tensions finally escalated into the Chibok boarding school kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria. Disguised as guards, Boko Haram abducted these girls and drove them away in trucks, potentially to forest area where they have been known to set up camp. The kidnapping occurred this past April and since then these girls have been beaten, raped, converted, and forced into arranged marriages with Boko Haram soldiers. Over the past few months, a few dozen girls have been able to escape, but still a majority of 200 are with their kidnappers. The handful of escapees have told stories of being forced to convert fromChristianity to Islam, being raped every single day, and being beaten on a regular occasion.

Shocked by the brutality of this terrible crime, people all over the globe took to social media to complain about the government’s slow approach to rescuing the girls. #BringBackOurGirls became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, raising even more awareness for the issue. There have been protests and vigils held all over the world. As lovely as it would be for these cease-fire arrangements to work out, there are still some heavy and understandable doubts. All that can be done for now is to hope and pray that these girls will be eventually returned safely to their families.

 

 

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