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8 Reasons #BringBackOurGirls Has Been Shamefully Forgotten By The World

'As far as our girls are concerned, they have been abandoned.'

14/04/2016 11:20

Footage has emerged appearing to show some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls alive - two years after they were abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

The 219 missing girls were among 279 abducted by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, as they were revising for their exams at school on the night of 14 April, 2014.

Fifty-seven managed to escape - the rest have not been found despite an international outcry at the time, when figures like Michelle Obama took part in the online #BringBackOurGirls campaign calling on authorities to find them.

Their parents feel "abandoned" as interest in their plight has vanished - some have died because of "heartache" in the 731 days since their children vanished according to local reports.

CNN
Footage, apparently taken in December, appears to show some of the girls are alive.

It has been speculated that the girls have been forced into being cooks, sex slaves and fighters, or even drugged and used as suicide bombers.

But since 2014, political and media interest has faded away - and we are still no closer to finding them.

These eight reasons reveal why the media - and the world - has forgotten these children:

  • 1 No-one knows where they are
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Finding where the girls have been taken has proved much more difficult than expected. "The region where the captives were taken is remote and vast — including the rugged Sambisa Forest where surveillance drones are of little use — and where the Nigerian government has limited influence," Benjamin Radford writes on Discovery. 

    Little is even known about what efforts are being made to locate them: Mike Omerri, director general of Nigeria's National Orientation Agency, told Al Jazeera that releasing information publicly about the attempt to find the students "wouldn't be beneficial". This lack of information leaves a void, meaning there's little for the global media to cover.
  • 2 The hashtag may have made things worse
    .
    A horrible irony is that the explosion of international attention around the girls could have made them more valuable to the terrorists, so harder to rescue.

    "The collective outrage of the Western world was irrelevant to Boko Haram, who reveled in the attention and recognition," Discovery reports. "First Lady Michele Obama was one of many prominent celebrities to embrace the cause, and the fact that the wife of the most powerful man in the world addressed the group in a viral May 7 photo posted to social media asking for the return of its hostages gave Boko Haram legitimacy it sought."

    “Boko Haram sees the Chibok girls as their trump card,” a Nigerian military commander is reported to have said in the Sunday Times. “We think they are keeping them with their main leadership. The day we get to the Chibok girls will spell the end of Boko Haram, but I fear they will kill all the girls in mass suicide bombings in the process.” 
  • 3 We got distracted
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    By the time the girls had been held for six months, politicians and western media had shifted their attention to other terror concerns, as a global fight against the so-called Islamic State began. The group gained territory, and began killing Western hostages on video - the world was shocked and captivated.

    Other major news stories, such as the rise of Ebola and lighter news like the Ice Bucket Challenge, also provided rolling media stories that - unlike the girls' captivity - offered frequent updates. 

    "The online community soon lost interest when positive results weren’t forthcoming," Discovery writes.
  • 4 They aren’t western or white
    STEFAN HEUNIS via Getty Images
    That the 219 girls are from Nigeria may play a part. Veteran journalist John Simspon has hit out at the media's "grotesquely selective" reporting of deaths from terror attacks around the world. 

    He believes that, with fewer foreign correspondents in the media, the place where people are killed or mistreated affects the coverage.

    "It's grotesquely selective actually," he told HuffPost UK last year when speaking about the Paris terror attacks. "Don't get me wrong, it's not that I think the [Paris attacks] don't matter, it matters hugely what happened in Paris. It's one of the most important things of this decade. It's just that you know, 130 people die in other countries and we shouldn't let ourselves be blinded to that simply because we're more interested in Paris."
  • 5 Little has actually been done
    Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters
    “Despite the global outcry against the atrocities Christian are suffering at the hands of Boko Haram, little has been done," says Paul Coleman, Senior Counsel and Deputy Director of ADF International. 

    Thought leaders of countries from the US to China promised to help, no diplomatic or military action has worked.

    "As far as our girls are concerned, they have been abandoned," said Mkeki Mutah, an uncle of two abducted girls, to Al Jazeera.

    "There is a saying: 'Actions speak louder than words.' Leaders from around the world came out and said they would assist to bring the girls back, but now we hear nothing. The question I wish to raise is: why?"

    Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan was criticised for not accepting international help sooner, and he rejected Boko Haram demands to exchange detained fighters for the girls, leaving negotiations at an impasse.
  • 6 And options are limited
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    One solution could be to "buy" the girls back from Boko Haram through intermediaries, as they were captured to be sold as slaves - but this would mean the US and Nigeria were participating in the illegal slave trade.

    "We all can’t just march into the Nigerian rainforest and snatch the girls back," Mohammed Adam wrote in the Ottowa Citizen. "That is the responsibility of the government, and the failure rests entirely with what passes for government in Nigeria."

    He claims the failure raises "the fundamental issue of what use government really is, in many parts of Africa."

    Observers have said that ex-President Goodluck Jonanhan did not take action to meet the grieving parents of the girls until until girl rights advocate Malala Yousafzai encouraged him.
  • 7 Boko Haram is fearsome
    Joe Penney / Reuters
    After watching its influence spread during a six-year campaign that has killed around 15,000 people according to the US military, Nigeria has finally united with its neighbouring countries like Cameroon to try and stamp out Boko Haram. It controls whole areas of Nigeria which are "no go" zones for the government, making hostage recovery highly challenging.
  • 8 Some have given up
    - via Getty Images
    While parents of the missing schoolgirls still mourn, others have given up, or certainly lost momentum to try and find them.

    Nigeria's incoming president Muhammadu Buhari said he could give no guarantees about their safe return.

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