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May 8, 2014

U.S. and U.K. send teams to Nigeria to help find abducted schoolgirls


Just as a team of specialists from the United States arrived in Nigeria to support efforts to find and free more than 270 abducted schoolgirls, militants killed hundreds of people in another northern border town, according to officials.

The schoolgirls were taken by the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has threatened to sell the girls and called them “slaves.”

Protesters across Nigeria and around the world have demanded the girls be returned. A social media campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has spread across various social platforms, gaining support even from First Lady Michelle Obama.

In the meantime, the girls’ families wait in limbo. Reverend Aaron Noirmbita fled Chibok, where the girls were kidnapped, but managed to talk on the phone to a father in the town whose daughter is still missing.

“This man that I have just spoken to has said that nothing is good for them again in life,” said Rev. Noirmbita. “He said is now — it’s like he’s not himself anymore, because it is better that you know that the child is dead. But when the child is alive and in the hands of people who you know can kill, people who you know can rape…”

Despite earlier doubts from Nigeria’s first lady that a kidnapping had even occurred, the government there is now adamant that it is doing everything it can.

“Special divisions of two battalions have been dedicated to this search,” said Dr. Doyin Okupe, a presidential adviser. “Virtually all military communication apparatus of the Nigerian army has been moved to Borno state to facilitate communications among both the ground troops and, you know, the air surveillance.”

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Nigeria?
  2. What is the definition of a terrorist?
  3. What are some tactics terrorists use?
Discussion questions
  1. Why did Boko Haram say they kidnapped these school girls?
  2. Do you think that other countries, like the U.S. and the U.K. should get involved? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that the girls will ever be returned to their families? Why or why not?
Writing prompts

Imagine that your sister or friend is one of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. In a narrative style, document your feelings (for example: fear, hope, anger), how the kidnapping has affected your daily activities, your reaction to the Nigerian government’s handling of the situation, your feelings toward Boko Haram and your plan to get your sister back.

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