bringBoko Haram is a terrorist group based in the north east of Nigeria who came to international attention in April 2014 when they kidnapped 276 female students from the Government Secondary School in Borno State. The group have gone on to use some of these girls as well as other children as soldiers in their fight.

Conflicting reports emerged following the kidnapping of the girls with the numbers taken and the numbers who escaped varying. One thing that was unanimous was the international outrage the kidnapping of the students brought. The Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls spread around the world and to date it has over 6 million re-tweets. US First Lady Michelle Obama, talk show host Ellen Degeneres and model Cara Delavigne were some of the many famous faces who joined in.

Despite the celebrity support the majority of girls are still being held by the terrorist group. With the two year anniversary of the girls kidnapping having just passed, the girls have once again been topics of conversation internationally with various articles being written about them. One article published in The New York Times highlighted the horrific actions of Boko Haram. Since 2012 the group have kidnapped more than 2000 women and children and have used them for a variety of different roles. Perhaps the most horrific is using the girls as suicide bombers in Nigeria. The girls look less suspicious than men and so don’t attract as much attention as men do. The girls can also hide weapons in their dresses and baskets.

As with the girls who were kidnapped in Sierra Leone, some of the young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been forced into marriages and child-bearing roles, and if/when they are released they will face the same difficulties in readjusting. But, it is so important that they are rescues and that’s why two years later the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls still matters.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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