It’s been two and a half years since terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. The event caused a global outcry, sparking the #BringBackOurGirls movement on social media which was supported by both Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, among others. While the campaign helped raise awareness, most of the girls – apart from nearly 60 who were able to escape their captors almost immediately – stayed in captivity. This week, however, 21 were released and were reunited with their loved ones in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Pictures on social media of families finally reunited, their members clutching each other, are extremely moving.
CNN shared news of the girls’ release, as well as a timeline of the events. Despite the two and a half years of captivity, this is the first mass release of Chibok girls – there are still 197 missing.
While those reunited celebrated the occasion, the event was understandably bittersweet: some of the girls released have sisters or cousins still in captivity, and parents whose daughters are still missing had an emotional day.
Negotiations to free more girls are ongoing, but currently only about 83 of the girls are being negotiated for – meaning, if the talks are successful, there will still be over 100 still in captivity. While every success in getting them back should be celebrated, the release of the 21 Chibok girls should remind us of the fact that so many are still being held. All of the Chibok girls should be released, so we can’t stop demanding #BringBackOurGirls until every single one has been returned.