[notice noticeType=”info”]Photo: Shown here is a view from a rally held in Lagos calling for the return of over 200 Nigerian secondary school girls abducted in April by the extremist group Boko Haram. Envera Selimovic (second from right, front row), Senior Public Information Officer for the UN Information Centre (UNI) in Lagos was at the rally. UN Photo[/notice]
The search for the missing 276 Nigerian school girls has intensified as a video released by the terrorist group Boko Haram surfaced. The kidnappers are now using the girls as bargaining chips and demanding a prisoner swap.
The United States is among other UN Member States searching for the missing girls. US First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a photograph of herself holding a sign “Bring back our girls” which has attracted global attention.
In addition, in a telephone call with the Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan, it was reported that Ban Ki-moon offered to send a high level envoy to discuss the matter and it was
accepted. The Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit. went to Abuja as the high-level representative to Nigeria.
On May 9, the UN Security Council demanded the “immediate and unconditional” release of the Nigerian schoolgirls. In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Oh Joon of
the Republic of Korea which holds the Council’s Presidency for May, the members of the Council expressed their “profound outrage at and condemned in the strongest terms”, the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in mid-April in Chibok, as well as the reported abduction of eight girls earlier this week in Warabe.
In looking back, on May 8, the UN Secretary-General stated that he was deeply concerned about the fate of the recently abducted schoolgirls in Borno State, Nigeria and said he shared the anguish of the families of the girls and the people of Nigeria at this traumatic time. He reiterated that “the targeting of children and schools is against international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances.” Although no one knows how this highly publicized kidnapping will end, what is obvious is the pain and heartbreak on the faces of those Nigerian mothers who continue to search for their missing daughters.