ABUJA, Nigeria, April 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – N igerian officials gave permission on Tuesday for a memorial event at a school in northeast Nigeria from where Islamist rebels abducted 276 girls two years ago with parents hoping this would remind the world their daughters are still missing.
The event, a prayer session integrating both Muslim and Christian faiths, will mark the second anniversary of the girls’ abduction by Boko Haram militants from Chibok that provoked an international outcry and a viral campaign #bringbackourgirls.
It will be held on April 14 – exactly two years since Boko Haram fighters stormed the Government Secondary School in Chibok in the middle of the night and kidnapped 276 girls. In total 57 managed to escape but 219 remain missing.
Lawan Zanna, secretary of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok association, said the government had agreed to give the parents access to the school that is heavily guarded and all the parents of the missing girls are expected to attend.
The parents were hoping the event would again garner attention for the girls who have not been seen since the night of their abduction despite calls to find them from celebrities and politicians including U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.
“We have also invited all the government officials from Chibok .. and they also promised to allow any person from the media to join us,” Zanna, whose 18-year-old daughter is among the missing girls, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of boys and girls in northeast Nigeria over the past seven years, turning them into cooks, sex slaves, fighters, and even suicide bombers to attack their own villages, according to Amnesty International.