Stolen school girls sold for mass marriages in Nigeria

Stolen school girls sold for mass marriages in Nigeria
Thu May 1, 2014 16:45:37

Hundreds of school girls who were kidnapped by militant groups in Nigeria, have reportedly been sold as wives for mass marriages.

Samson Dawah, whose niece was among the 234 Nigerian school girls likely kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram, has received information that the girls are married and shared by the militants.

“We have heard from members of the forest community where they took the girls,” he told the girl’s family according to a report by the Guardian.

”They said there had been mass marriages and the girls are being shared out as wives among the Boko Haram militants.”

The girl’s father fainted, the Guardian reported, and has since been hospitalized.

But the news got worse. Village elder Pogo Bitrus told Agence France Presse locals had consulted with “various sources” in the nation’s forested northeast. “From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” he said, adding that each girl was sold as a bride to militants for 2,000 naira — $12.

The Washington Post could not independently verify such claims, and the Nigerian defense ministry didn’t immediately return requests for comment Wednesday morning. But if true, the news would add another terrifying wrinkle to an already horrifying set of events that has galvanized the nation, spurred foreign leaders to take notice, and exposed the powerlessness of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the face of a radicalized and murderous militant group named Boko Haram.

The group, for which Western education is anathema, has killed at least 2,300 people since 2010, according to estimates in journalistic and Amnesty International reports.

In the first four months of this year alone, Amnesty International says 1,500 people have died in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims.

But the girls’ capture and alleged sell-off constitutes one of its most disturbing actions yet. On April 14, scores of armed militants stormed a dormitory in Chibok at night, captured hundreds of girls, and disappeared back into the night. Since, the bungled search for them has lurched from one mistake to the next.

First, the Nigerian military reported that 129 school girls had been taken from the northeastern state of Borno.

Then it claimed that all of the girls but eight had been released. This soon proved false. Few, if any, had been released. In fact, parents said an additional 100 girls beyond original estimates had also been taken. In all, 234 school girls are today suspected captured.

Parents have grown increasingly frustrated by what they perceive as a feckless governmental response. Some relatives have launched their own search, riding motorcycles deep into the surrounding forests in search of their girls.

The missing girls have ignited a social media campaign underneath the hashtag #BringBackOurDaughters.

The news of the mass marriage come from a group of fathers, uncles, cousins, and nephews who gather every morning to pool their resources, buy fuel, and journey unarmed to forests and border towns in search of the missing girls. They learned this week, they said, that mass wedding ceremonies had occurred on Saturday and Sunday.

The insurgents reportedly shot their guns into the air after taking their new brides, and split them into three groups. They were then reportedly moved out by truckload.


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