Today marks one year since the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 Christian girls from a school in the town of Chibok Nigeria.
In the days before the kidnapping Boko Haram had massacred some 200 schoolboys at a nearby school who had been on their way to take exams.
Despite initially being sent home, the girls had been called back to their school to take their final exams when the middle-of-the-night attack occurred. The regional government had closed all of 85 of its secondary schools and sent 120,000 students home because of previous attacks.
The terrorists, arriving in trucks, vans and buses, overpowered soldiers guarding the school and herded the girls into the vehicles after burning homes and businesses in the area.
The girls were later sold into sex slavery for 2000 rials each, just $12 US each.
Shortly afterwards Boko Haram leader Abu Bakr Shekau boasted in a video that he would sell the girls at the market.
Some of the girls were able to escape from Boko Haram. It was reported that roughly 60 of the girls were able to make it back home.
The attack triggered an international campaign of solidarity, started by the mothers of the kidnapped girls, who marched on the palace of then Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck demanding ‘Bring Back Our Girls.’
The campaign saw many celebrities and political figures from around the world holding up signs emblazoned with #BringBackOurGirls including Michelle Obama, Malala Yousufzai, Emma Watson and Ellen and many other famous and ordinary people.
Reconnaissance and counter-terrorism assistance was provided by the US, China, UK, France, Canada and Israel.
The USA sent a team of 16 military personnel and conducted drone flights to assist in locating the kidnapped Chibok girls, in addition to training support for the Nigerian military.
Since the kidnapping the group has shown no signs of slowing. An attack on a village close to Chibok in July 2014 killed 11 of the parents of the kidnapped girls.
According to a new report released by Amnesty International, over the course of 2014 “Boko Haram killed thousands of people, abducted at least 2000 women and girls and forced more than a million to flee their homes.”
The report, entitled “Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill,” was published to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Chibok kidnapping.
At the beginning of this year they went on a six-day rampage in northern Nigeria. The army fled, whereupon the terrorists razed the town of Baga to the ground.
An estimated 2,000 people were killed over those six days. Eyewitnesses who survived reported that the dead were too many to count. Surrounding villages were also burned and the inhabitants slaughtered.
In March 2015 Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and its self-styled Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A year later the girls are still in captivity.