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Since world leaders and celebrities showed their support for the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign last spring, what has become of efforts to find and return the young female mass kidnapping victims of Boko Haram? Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News reports that many in Nigeria have lost interest in their fate, but a dedicated group keeps vigil.
We turn now to Nigeria and the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped last year by Boko Haram.
Despite the global outcry over their disappearance, there are few signs they are ever coming back.
And as Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News reports from Abuja, many in the country have lost interest in their fate.
In a nation where jaw-dropping scandals make front-page headlines day after day, there is one that does not. But day after day, every day, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign meets in Abuja. Their protest at times has the feel of a wake, but no one has told them whether, after more than 300 days, those whom they mourn are dead or alive.
The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has promised again and again to bring the girls back, but the Nigerian army has failed to bring back even one. Nigeria and Nigerians have moved on. This video was posted last May by Boko Haram, one month after they'd kidnapped more than 200 teenaged girls from a school in the small town of Chibok.
The insurgent leader said they'd be sold into slavery. Nothing has been heard of them since. Even the star-studded global #BringBackOurGirls campaign has pretty much fizzled and died.
It's actually very moving to be here. In this country of 200 million people, only this handful gathers every single day to remember the missing Chibok girls. They have been physically attacked. Not a single government minister supports them. When they have tried to march on the president's villa, he sends out troops to block their way. The education minister doesn't even reply to their letters. And yet they say if they didn't come here like this every day, the Chibok girls would be completely forgotten.
OBY EZEKWESILI, Leader, Bring Back Our Girls:
We need to know where these girls are. We need to — we really need to. You know, for me, the greatest pain is that I don't feel my government did the best that it could do for these girls. The regret that I have in my spirit concerning that failure is so profound.
Just the thought that this is — this is because they are poor makes me even angrier, because education is what enables you to conquer poverty.
Boko Haram's relentless rampage has forced 1.5 million Northern Nigerians to run for their lives. Thousands have been massacred and the virulent jihadi insurgency's spreading. The armies of neighboring states have joined this African war against terror.
As each new atrocity eclipses the last, the plight of the girls from Chibok feels like history. The threat posed by Boko Haram has even been blamed for the postponement of this week's presidential election. But a source close to the president told Channel 4 News that the Bring Back Our Girls campaign was a hostile force too, that the group had been hijacked by Nigeria's political opposition.
The campaigners scoff at this, and vow that the girls will not be forgotten.
Where are we from?
God bless you all. And never grow weary. We will stand with these girls. We will stand with them. And we will stand with them.
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