Nigerian women’s groups are calling on their government to stop gender violence in conflict, such as the abduction of more than 230 girls from a boarding school in the northeastern part of the country two weeks ago.
No one has taken responsibility for the abduction, but militant group Boko Haram is widely suspected to have carried out the attack. The group opposes western education, including all formal education for women. In November 2013, Boko Haram abducted a group of Christian women—and some were forced into marriages with their kidnappers.
Last week, Aishatu Ngulde, a coordinator from the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation, expressed concern over Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan’s initial decision to leave rescue efforts up to state governors. She called on the government to deploy its full military force to find the missing girls and provide more security protection for schools.
People from around the world are using the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls, to call for the abducted girls' safe return and increased government action to end Boka Haram's insurgency. On April 25, Nigeria finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, offering hope that Jonathan's administration will take more decisive action to protect Nigerian women.