Missing girls in Nigeria are said to have been forcibly married, according to a video message and as reported by The Independent. The disheartening news recently came to light concerning the more than 200 girls abducted in April this year.
The girls were deliberately targeted for abduction by Boko Haram due to their educational pursuits. The education of girls is considered a direct violation of Sharia law, which holds that a girl’s role is to be a caretaker of her children and husband. In fact, the translation of the name Boko Haram is “Western education is a sin.”
The news comes with a mixed set of accompanying circumstances. Earlier, contradicting reports surfaced saying that Boko Haram’s leader, Shekau, had been killed. According to USA Today, Shekau’s recent appearance on video depicted him ranting amid fits of laughter. Apparently, he was reacting to prior reported accounts that he was considered to be dead.
At issue is the Nigerian government, which was said to have provided information to families about an impending truce. The truce was expected to be the result of new, developing peace talks between the militants and the government, which sparked a ray of hope for recovery of the missing girls.
The missing girls have been on the mind of Nigerian families since their ruthless kidnaping after the town of Mubi was taken by force. Shekau, posturing against heavily armed vans, as shown in the released video, stands as a visual reinforcement of the callous and defiant characteristics of the militant group.
The new video reporting that the girls had been married infers they will not be returning home. Nigerian families do not know where to turn, because from the very beginning, they have vocalized criticism of the Nigerian government’s handling of the matter. They believed there was much more the government could have been doing to secure the release of the missing girls.
According to CNN, for days on end, protests were made to express their disagreement of the government’s response. Protesters complained about the withholding of certain information and the lack of clear action. At that time, Nigerians took as much of the matter as was practical into their own hands. They turned to social media and made use of hashtags online to voice their pleas for the return of their daughters. A number of town residents also searched forests in which they believed the girls had been taken, but found nothing.
The entire set of atrocious militant acts has created waves of disgust in the U.S., provoking verbal demands for the return of the girls. According to CNN, the U.S. government has placed a bounty of $7 million dollars on Shekau’s head. Reportedly, the militant leader’s aims include far and deep destruction of the Nigerian government and its territories.
The message sent during the video of the militant leader, Shekau, about marriages being forced upon the missing girls is direct. Shekau’s videotaped appearance unraveled many Nigerian families’ hope for reconciliation with their beloved girls. There is currently no indication that the kidnapped girls will be returning safely to their families.
By Karen J. Dabney