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May 6, 2014

Outrage over kidnapped school girls spreads beyond Nigeria


Outrage over the fate of more than 200 girls who were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria is spreading around the world.

Recently, the leader of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram said that he will sell the students, calling them “slaves.”

The government’s failure to find the girls has sparked protests around the country. In the port city of Lagos, hundreds of protesters gathered to demand answers and a stepped-up search for the girls.

“We want these girls to be rescued with immediate effect,” said one woman. “We want them back alive, because they are our tomorrow.”

To add to the problem, the country’s first lady expressed doubts that there had been a kidnapping at all. Protest leaders say Nigerian first lady Patience Jonathan had them arrested and accused them of fabricating the abductions. President Goodluck Jonathan partially blamed the parents.

“What we request is maximum cooperation from the guardians and the parents of these girls, because up to this time, they have not been able to come clearly, to give the police clear identity of the girls that are yet to return,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. is ready to help find and return the girls.

Nigeria is set to host business leaders at the World Economic Forum this Wednesday in the capital city, Abuja, but several have canceled due to the kidnappings, bombings and other threats of violence.

UPDATE: Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have reportedly captured eight more girls from a village in northeast Nigeria.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Nigeria?
  2. What is a terrorist organization?
Discussion questions
  1. Why were the girls kidnapped?
  2. Do you agree with how the government is handling the situation? Explain your answer.
  3. What effect do you think the kidnapping will have on the rest of the country? How will it effect a parents’ decision to send their children to school?
  4. Think about the violence that we have experienced in the United States at schools. What are the similarities and differences?
Writing prompts

Imagine that you are the President of Nigeria and you have just been told that 300 school girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. In a narrative, describe your reaction, your intended plan of action, and any words of advice or comfort that you would give to the families of the kidnapped girls. Then, compare and contrast how your course of action is similar or different to how President Goodluck Jonathan has responded.

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