Home inContext Boko Haram Video Shows Kidnapped Girls

Boko Haram Video Shows Kidnapped Girls

Michael Johnson
A screenshot of Boko Haram's video. (Photo: CNN)

A new video surfaced Thursday reportedly showing 15 of the more than 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. April 15th marks the second anniversary of their abduction from the town of Chibok.

The video, obtained by CNN, was sent from the group’s captors to government negotiators to show “proof of life.” According to one of the girls who spoke in the recording, it was originally made in December 2015. However, the government did not inform the families of the victims, leaving them to learn about the video only after it had become public. This is the first footage released of the girls since May 2014.

Known as the “Chibok Girls,” Boko Haram kidnapped the students at gunpoint in the northeastern town of Chibok while they were sitting for exams. The terrorist group’s leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell many of the girls into slavery or arrange forced marriages for them. While the majority of the girls are Christian, Boko Haram forces them to obey strict Sharia Law.

Amid these events, both local and international activists campaigned hard for the safe return of the Chibok Girls. Even after a series of large protests in 2014 and 2015, demonstrators continue to take to the streets in an effort to pressure the Nigerian government to do more. Meanwhile, “Bring Back Our Girls” became trending phrase in predominantly Western social media to bring awareness to the Chibok Girls. First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted out a picture of herself with the slogan in 2014.

Even with the public outcry and numerous military offensives against the terrorist organization, the government has been incapable of rescuing the girls. Frustration with ineffective leaders helped contribute to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s electoral defeat last year, however current Muhammadu Buhari has not achieved much more. A report from the UN Human Rights Commissioner release this week echoes the frustration felt by many that, “despite reassurances from those at the highest level of the Nigerian Government, the parents have not seen any concrete progress in locating and liberating their daughters.”