In this photo taken Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Dorcas Aiden, 20 years old, speaks to a journalist in Yola, Nigeria. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
YOLA, Nigeria – When Islamic extremists snatched more than 270 girls from the Chibok boarding school in Nigeria in the dead of night, protests broke out worldwide. The U.S. pledged to help find them, and the .BringBackOurGirls hashtag was born.
Some 10 months later, most are still missing. The Boko Haram extremist group sees the mass kidnapping as a shining symbol of success, and has abducted hundreds of other girls, boys and women. The militants brag to their new captives about the surrender of the Chibok girls, their conversion to Islam and their marriage to fighters.
“They told me the Chibok girls have a new life where they learn to fight,” says Abigail John, 15, who was held by Boko Haram for more than four weeks before escaping. “They said we should be like them and accept Islam.”
The kidnappings reflect the growing ambition and brazenness of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose an Islamic state across Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Some 10,000 people have died in the Islamic uprising over the past year, compared to 2,000 in the previous four years, according to the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.
“It’s devastating,” said Bukky Shonibare, an activist in Abuja, of the kidnappings. “It makes you wonder, what is being done?”…
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