Eight more girls have been kidnapped by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram just three weeks after it abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls who, the group’s leader has warned, face being sold into slavery.
As soon as the news spread, the relatively dormant international community and criminally inactive Nigerian government sprung into action as the world demanded action against Boko Haram.
Although the delay in substantial international reaction is heartbreaking, it is about time the incident received appropriate attention on an official level.
Here’s how international actors are reacting to the tragedy:
The Nigerian government, which had shamefully ignored and downplayed the abduction of girls, had to act (or at least appear to) as details emerged about the second kidnapping.
Speaking to the CNN, Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan said, "The President and the government (are) not taking this as easy as people all over the world think. We've done a lot -- but we are not talking about it. We're not Americans. We're not showing people, you know, but it does not mean that we are not doing something."
However, the parents of the abducted girls differed. The father of two of them accused the government of "playing" with the parents of the missing girls and treating them as "fools". In an interview with CNN, he said, "Had there been these military men who went into the bush to rescue our daughters, we would have seen them."
The United States government was also up in arms as, on Tuesday, it decided to dispatch military officials and hostage negotiators to Nigeria to aid in the recovery efforts.
President Barack Obama himself remarked in an interview with ABC, “Obviously it’s a heartbreaking and outrageous situation. We’ve already sent in a team to Nigeria — they’ve accepted our help through a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies who are going in, trying to identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help.”
The United Nations Human Rights office also released a statement on Tuesday criticizing Boko Haram for their horrendous actions.
Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said in a briefing in Geneva, “We are deeply concerned about the outrageous claims made in a video believed to be by the leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria yesterday…[We] warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law. These can, under certain circumstances, constitute crimes against humanity.”
Twitter became the prominent forum for public reactions over the abduction. The hashtag #bringbackourgirls has been trending on Twitter with over a million tweets so far. As the tweets started piling up, ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ became the international slogan for protests and demonstrations around the world.
Here are some of the prominent Tweets from the campaign:
Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2014
Kidnapping should not be tolerated in any region of the world. As a mother, I support their call to #BringBackOurGirls— Senator Landrieu (@SenLandrieu) May 7, 2014