Sarah Joanne Jakubowski, Contributing JournalistLast Modified: 23:17 p.m. DST, 07 May 2014
Boko Haram, which translates to "Western education is sinful," then set the school on fire. Since then, 53 girls have managed to escape -- though Tuesday, 6 May 2014, there was another kidnapping of 8-girls from the nearby village of Warabe.
Thus far the search for the missing girls has primarily been conducted by residents of Borno, who have been braving the dangerous Sambisa Forest as well as potentially fatal encounters with Boko Haram, all with little on-ground military support.
The military says it is using aerial surveillance to look for the girls. However, many suspect that the government is afraid to engage in a conflict with Boko Haram which is heavily armed.
After three weeks of little or no support from the Nigerian government, as well as the lack of information on the exact location and status of the kidnapped girls, citizens have begun to lose confidence in authority.
However, the girls have international support: the British government expressed concern, the UN condemned the kidnappings as acts against humanity, protests are happening worldwide, awareness has gone viral with the hashtag "#bringbackourgirls," and Nigeria has recently accepted help from the US military.
While the girls were originally kept nearby, there is belief that some have been transported to neighboring countries. If the girls have been split up into several groups, rescue efforts could potentially take years.
Boko Haram plans to sell the girls. Additionally, some may be kept as human shields to prevent rescuers from bombing the camps they're kept at, and others may be ransomed back to their parents.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said that finding the girls will be a top priority.
- Nigeria Offers $300,000 Reward for Information on Abducted Girls (voanews.com)
- Eight more Nigerian girls abducted (bbc.co.uk)
- Nigeria's government defends its actions as more girls are abducted - CNN (edition.cnn.com)
- Nigerian kidnappings: US agrees to send team of experts to help with search for 200 abducted girls (independent.co.uk)
- Nigeria kidnap horror: More girls taken overnight (edition.cnn.com)
- Boko Haram kills 150 in Nigerian town (cnn.com)