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A Generation Held Hostage?

More than five months after Boko Haram abducted 276 Nigerian schoolgirls, 219 remain missing. The plight of courageous girls worldwide fighting for an education highlights one of the unfinished battles of the 1960s civil-rights movement.

LONDON – On April 14, 2014, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the government secondary school in Nigeria’s northern town of Chibok. Many escaped, but 219 remain in captivity, their whereabouts still unknown.

So deep is the despair and desolation felt by the girls’ parents that they are now considering whether to declare their daughters “presumed dead.” According to local custom, funerals are held after loved ones have gone missing for four months, so that a period of mourning can give families some closure. The girls have now been held captive for over five months.

No one can overstate the families’ unspeakable anguish from not knowing if their daughters have been raped, beaten, or trafficked out of Nigeria – or even if they are still alive. The rest of the world may have moved on, but the girls’ parents wake each morning to a day of uncertainty and resignation. Hope is fast evaporating.

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