A youth march was organised on Thursday by relatives of more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April last year, to draw attention that it has been 500 days since the girls have disappeared.
Boko Haram, a Nigerian based militant group established in 2002, has gained strong international criticisms after its militants kidnapped 276 female students in April 2014. The girls abducted from the Government Secondary School, in the Nigerian town of Chibok are still missing, however 57 have managed to escape.
The march will be held in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and will be followed by a candle-lit vigil in the evening.
The mass abduction went viral in a social media campagin, #BringBackOurGirls, where prominent actors such as US First Lady Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie demanded the relase of the girls.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014
Speaking to AFP, the campaign spokesperson Aisha Yesufu said "Since 498 days that they have been missing... we failed them and they were taken and the best thing is for us to have rescued them that very day. And up until now, 498 days after, we still haven't done that."
Nigerian presidental spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, who spoke to Trt World said, “As long as the girls are alive, he [Buhari] will do the very best to get them back and unite then with their families.”
Trt World reporter, Fidelis Mbah stated that Buhari had previously attempted to rescue the girls but it is difficult without getting additional support of other countires.
Mbah also said that families are hopeful to re-unite with the girls but it is difficult as some of them have been cited in countries such as South Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria. Most of the girls were allegedly forced to marry Boko Haram militants while some have already had babies, others were sold as sex slaves.
Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the abductions were “intolerable” and made a renewed call for the girls to be released, during his visit to Nigeria.
According to the DW online website who interviewed people in the street of Abuja, there were mixed reactions to the unresolved abduction crisis. "It is too early to judge whether the present administration is working on this," one said. "I believe Buhari can do something if he wants, but since he is new, he can do something, so let him help us," said another.
The Nigerian military has reported that they know where the girls are but have not made direct rescue efforts as yet, in order to eliminate the chances of risking the girls' lives.