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Chibok Girls 500 Days Is #BringBackOurGirls a blessing or a curse?

The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants on April 14, 2014, and most of them remain in captivity with their whereabouts unknown.

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It’s been 500 days since over 200 girls were abducted from the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

The missing Chibok Girls. play

The missing Chibok Girls.

(Pulse)

 

The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants on April 14, 2014, and most of them remain in captivity with their whereabouts unknown.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau play

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

(Shoebat)

 

The incident led to global outrage and resulted in the creation of a hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, which eventually escalated into a movement.

#BringBackOurGirls group marks one year of Chibok girls' abduction in Abuja on April 13, 2015. play

#BringBackOurGirls group marks one year of Chibok girls' abduction in Abuja on April 13, 2015.

(Twitter)

 

However, the movement, despite bringing worldwide attention to the girls’ plight, seems to also have singled them out for special attention from the terrorists.

#BringBackOurGirls group marks one year of Chibok girls' abduction in Abuja on April 13, 2015. play

#BringBackOurGirls group marks one year of Chibok girls' abduction in Abuja on April 13, 2015.

(Twitter)

 

This differentiation has its advantages, since it might ensure the girls’ safety, but it may also be the reason why they are still being held captive.

Chibok girls' ambassadors march in Abuja on April 14, 2015. play

Chibok girls' ambassadors march in Abuja on April 14, 2015.

(Twitter)

 

Since the abduction, numerous reports of negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have arisen and for each one, the Chibok girls have been used as a bargaining chip.

Chibok girls' ambassadors march in Abuja on April 14, 2015. play

Chibok girls' ambassadors march in Abuja on April 14, 2015.

(Twitter)

 

One such report, related to The Associated Press by an unnamed activist in July 2015, stated that the sect was willing to let the girls go free if the government would release 16 of its commanders who had been imprisoned for their connections to terrorism.

The sect leader Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his subordinates. play

The sect leader Abubakar Shekau, flanked by his subordinates.

(Sun News)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari said during an interview on CNN in July that he would not hesitate to negotiate with the terrorists if it meant the girls would be released.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau play

President Muhammadu Buhari and Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

(Daily Review)

 

The terrorists have access to the media too and they must have realized that the fate of the world-famous Chibok girls lies in their hands.

Abubakar Shekau in the middle, with other lieutenants. play

Abubakar Shekau in the middle, with other lieutenants.

(ewn)

 

A former Boko Haram captive, Mbutu Papka, told the International Centre for Investigative Reporting after her release that the girls were being held under tight security in Gwoza, a community in Borno State.

Former Boko Haram captive, Mbutu Papka play

Former Boko Haram captive, Mbutu Papka

(Daily Times)

 

“In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept. The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter,” she said.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari consoles mothers of the abducted Chibok girls. play

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari consoles mothers of the abducted Chibok girls.

(Punch)

 

She also said that no one was allowed near the girls’ specific location and that it was heavily guarded at all times.

Freed Boko Haram captives play

Freed Boko Haram captives

(Reuters)

 

The special status of the missing girls became even more obvious when the Nigerian Army rescued a large of group of captives from the sect in April and the major question on most people’s minds was “Is it the Chibok girls?”

Chibok girls play

Chibok girls

(PM News)

 

According to Amnesty International, Boko Haram has abducted about 2000 girls and women since the beginning of 2014 but of all these, only the Chibok girls have stood out because of the global outcry for their release.

Oby Ezekwesili play

Oby Ezekwesili

(Afolabi Sotunde—Reuters)

 

The efforts of the #BringBackOurGirls group (led by former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili,) and their continued cries for the girls’ release cannot be taken lightly and must be commended but still, 500 days after the abduction, one is forced to ask: has the movement been beneficial to the girls or is it contributing to their continued captivity?

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Watch President Muhammadu Buhari speak about Chibok girls during CNN interview below:

Is #BringBackOurGirls helping or harming Chibok girls?»

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