April 15 marked the kidnapping of more than 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by militant Islamic group Boko Haram, but May 1 marked the world’s late attention to the issue.
While major media outlets focused on Donald Sterling and the horrifying incident of the South Korean ferry, the missing girls were reportedly being raped, abused and sold for marriage for $12.
Boko Haram aims to overthrow the government to make Nigeria an Islamic state and obliterate all traces of Western culture, which has led the terror group to commit assassinations, bombings and abductions.
The abduction of the schoolgirls occurred around midnight in a Chibok school where the girls were resting in their dormitories. Dozens of men arrived at the school in camouflage, claiming to be soldiers sent to rescue the girls from Boko Haram. As the girls followed the men, the men began to burn the school down chanting, “God is great.”
“That was when we realized we were in the hands of Boko Haram,” a 17-year-old refugee told the Los Angeles Times. “It was too late to contemplate escape, because we could see from the expression on their faces that they were ready to shoot any of us who tried to flee.”
Although 53 of the girls have escaped, 276 of their classmates are still being held captive.
The Nigerian government has received criticism about their delayed reaction to the abduction. Four hours before the kidnapping occurred, the government was warned about Boko Haram being on the move to cause another tragedy. Despite their denial, the Amnesty International report alleged the Nigerian commanders were unable to raise enough troops to prevent the kidnapping. The terror group has since captured an additional eight girls.
The United States has announced a deployment of a 200-person military and law enforcement deputation to recover the girls, Nigeria was forced to accept international help despite ignoring offers for weeks.
While the kidnapping didn’t make it to the 6:00 news or the front page of your favorite newspaper immediately, Twitter beat them to the punch using hashtags such as #234girls and #bringbackourgirls. It is a shame that it took a Twitter storm of hashtags to bring attention to such an important issue.