May 5, 2014 4:11 pm
Updated: May 5, 2014 4:18 pm

Nigeria kidnappings: Can online campaigning #BringBackOurGirls?

Women attend a demonstration calling on government to rescue kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, May. 5, 2014.

Sunday Alamba/AP Photo

A social media-driven campaign is keeping attention (and criticism) on the Nigerian government and how its handling the mass abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called on the U.S. and other international partners to help save hundreds of captive girls, three weeks after Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped them from their school dormitory.

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The Nigerian military’s lack of progress in locating the girls or tracking down members of the insurgent group, who abducted them from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School on Apr. 14, has lead to growing outrage and protests across Nigeria.

A campaign called Bring Back Our Girls has become the rallying cry in Nigeria and abroad.

“The government in Nigeria is doing nothing to rescue these girls but we can,” a message reads on a Twitter account associated with the campaign.

Bring Back Our Girls page

A video (below) created by Nigerian director Louis King, featuring images of girls in school classrooms along with names of some of the missing girls, encourages viewers to write to world leaders and demand the girls be rescued and tell the government to protect schools.

“All we want from the government is to help us bring our children back,” a caption in the video reads.

The campaign, using the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, has also inspired other digital artwork, photographs and videos that attempt to keep the focus on the girls.

Families have taken to the street in Chibok, where the girls were kidnapped, the Nigerian capital of Abuja and the country’s two larges cities, Lagos and Kano.

But protests are happening in other countries, including Canada.

A reported 276 teenage girls remain missing and there are renewed fears Boko Haram will sell them into slavery or as brides to the group’s militants.

While parents of the kidnapping victims and their supporters are putting pressure on the government, there is also an international movement afoot to have more effort placed on safely retrieving the girls form their captors.

There is a call to action for rallies on Tuesday, including outside the Nigerian embassy in Washington D.C.

More than 257,000 people have added their names to a petition on the website Change.org.

“By signing this petition we declare our solidarity with the kidnapped girls and call upon the world not to forget them, support all efforts to ensure their safe return, and ask President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian Government to ensure all schools are safe places to learn, protected from attack,” the petition states.

The petition, which has a goal of reaching 300,000 names, “calls on the Nigerian government and all enabled international parties to immediately rescue them.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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