CURATED BY Zack Beauchamp
2014-05-12 10:36:43 -0400
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On April 14, a group of Islamist militants attacked a school in Chibok, a settlement in the northern Nigerian state of Borno. The militants, members of of a particularly brutal group called Boko Haram, kidnapped over 300 girls. Though some have since escaped, 276 girls still remain in Boko Haram's clutches.
Boko Haram kidnapped eight more girls the night of Monday, May 5. The next day, the United States announced it would send a small contingent of non-combat military and law enforcement to help advise the Nigerian government in rescuing the girls.
Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant group whose name is most accurately translated as "Western culture is Islamically forbidden," despises the idea of educating girls. It has waged a brutal insurgency from its base in northeastern Nigeria and several surrounding nations with the goal of imposing strict Islamic law in Nigeria, the population of which is roughly half Muslim and half Christian.
This kidnapping furthers Boko Haram's ideological goals, but may also be a ploy to raise money. Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to sell the girls into slavery, and their real goal may very well be ransoming the girls off.
Nigerian activists have turned the kidnapping into a global concern. Infuriated by President Goodluck Jonathan's inability to rescue the abducted girls, Nigerians organized protests and a social media campaign (including #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter) to try to spark some kind of positive action. To date, the girls are still held prisoner by Boko Haram.
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