On April 14, the Nigerian terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, kidnapped 234 female students and burned their school on the northern Nigerian town of Chibok. As of today the girls have not been recovered and the perpetrators are at large.
The military and the government have been inefficient and have not yet negotiated the release of the girls. Additionally there are reports that the victims are being sold as child brides for as low as $12 per girl and being trafficked across the border in to Cameroon and Chad.
There has been a great deal of anger and protesting in the Nigerian capital Abuja, as the government has been slow in its efforts to help the girls. This is not a surprising incident and Boko Haram has been conducting such violent activities in #Nigeria for the past five years. However, the number of girls lost is staggering and this is this biggest kidnapping yet.
The northern provinces of Nigeria have been in a state of emergency for many months now and larges parts of north-eastern Nigeria are beyond the control of the military. Reports suggest that over 1,500 people have been killed in the insurgency so far this year, compared to an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013.
Boko Haram translates to "western education is sinful" and the terrorist organisation has launched a campaign against modernisation and "western" education and seeks to establish "pure" sharia law in Nigeria. It has been attacking female education, schools, colleges and Christian groups since 2009. It has a diffuse structure and has been difficult for the government to target.
Such abductions in the past, as well as violence against women, have discouraged parents from sending their daughters to school. Nigeria has the third highest HIV infected population in the world due to the culture of rape and trafficking. In the Nigerian context, rape is often punishment for wanting to be independent and threating the status quo.
At present only about 3% of the 360 members in the House of Representatives are women and only 1% of the Senators are women. The Nigerian girl deals with physical and sexual abuse, female circumcision, early marriage, disinheritance of widows, trafficking and job discrimination.
The Boko Haram is already selling girls while also negotiating with the government for the release of 180 girls. Mass protests are increasing in recent days and there are cries for international intervention, which is unlikely to happen.
The UN has taken some notice and Gordon Brown, the United Nations' special adviser on girls' education, will visit Nigeria to launch a campaign to raise funds and awareness. Additionally appeals for aid have been made to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) and to the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) of the UN Security Council to provide international assistance.