Today marks Day 115 since nearly 300 girls were abducted from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. At Day 115, you may ask, “What has changed and why are the girls still missing?”
And both questions continue to be on the hearts and minds of countless people across Nigeria and the world.
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Unfortunately, we are still hearing reports of violence and attacks on communities. Reports of female suicide bombings have been on the rise mainly in the city of Kano.
BBC Nigeria analyst Naziru Mikailu says Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and some of his top commanders were based in the city until a security force operation last year forced them to flee to their current hide-out, the vast Sambisa forest along the border of Cameroon.
- 8 June: A middle-aged woman arrives on a motorcycle at a military barracks in Gombe, detonating an explosive that kills herself and a policeman.
- 27 July: A teenager with an explosive device concealed under her veil blows herself up at a university campus in Kano, injuring five police officers.
- 28 July: A young woman joins a kerosene queue at a filling station in Kano before her bomb detonates, killing three people and wounding 16 others.
- 28 July: A teenager injures six people, after exploding her device at a shopping centre in Kano.
- 30 July: A teenager within a crowd of students at a college campus in Kano blows herself up, killing six people.
Unfortunately, ignorance and poverty are the leading causes that drive people to join terrorist groups, according to Jane Hartman, president and chief executive of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. If we can protect girls from domineering violence and provide them with opportunities to pursue a better path; however, they will not be a target for terror groups.
In light of the attacks, some good news came out this week, regarding the location of the girls: U.S. surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria showed what appeared to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations. This has given many hope that the girls can still be rescued.
And with this hope, supporters of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign continue to advocate for the safe return of the Chibok girls.