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Nigeria abductions: Girls remain missing one year on, Prez-elect says can’t promise to find them

As Nigeria remembered with much pain and sadness the tragic abductions of more than 200 Chibok school girls exactly a year ago, a report by the Amnesty International only added to the anguish saying, that the terror group has kidnapped some 2,000 girls since the start of 2014 and forced them into sex slavery or trained them to join the attacks.

Amnesty in its report released on Tuesday paints a very grim and pathetic portrayal of Boko Haram victims, saying that while the boys and men were executed, girls were abducted, “raped repeatedly” and also trained to fight so that they can be used to launch the terror attacks perpetrated by them.

Amnesty says that at least 5,500 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram since the start of 2014.

The 90-page report made by the Amnesty is based on nearly 200 witness accounts, including 28 with abducted women and girls who escaped captivity, and it documents multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram.

One of the abducted girls who managed to escape told the Amnesty how Boko Haram trained her to shoot guns and use bombs and sent her to her own village to launch an attack.

“They used to train girls how to shoot guns. I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village.Then they started sending some of us to operations. I went on one operation to my own village,” Amnesty quoted one of the girls.

Amnesty’s spine-chilling report documenting Boko Haram’s atrocities comes on the first anniversary of abductions.

It was this very day, that is, on April 14 last year that Boko Haram kidnapped over 270 girls from Chibok’s Government Secondary School in Borno State, leaving Nigeria and the entire world shocked and outraged.

Events are being held in Nigeria and across the world to mark the anniversary of abductions. In Abuja, 219 girls will take part in a procession to remember the abducted girls.

Events are also being organised by #BringBackOurGirls camapigners who have been a strong voice in demanding the return of the kidnapped girls.

Nigeria’s former government led by outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has been widely criticised for not doing enough to bring back the kidnapped girls.

Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai, who became a champion of girls’ rights after she was shot by Taliban for writing against them, has been a prominent voice demanding the girls’ release and asked the Nigeria and world leaders to do more to secure the release of the girls whom she called “my brave sisters”.

In an open letter by Malala on Monday, she wrote, “In my opinion, Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you”.

“They must do much more to help secure your release. I am among many people pressuring them to make sure you are freed”.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who will be inaugurated on May 29, has vowed that he will do everything in his power to “crush” the Boko Haram. However he added that he refrained from promising that the girls would be found, saying the the government was clueless about their whereabouts.

“As we remember the kidnap of the girls, it is time to reflect on the pain and suffering of the victims, their friends and families on account of the heinous crime..,” he said.

“We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. “As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my government will do everything in our power to bring them home,” said Buhari.

Boko Haram started the uprising in 2009 and were designated as a terrorist organisation in November 2013.

Boko Haram when translated to English means “Western Education is forbidden”.

The Boko Haram militants have been strictly opposing western education and have been carrying increasing number of attacks on schools and colleges.

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