Timeline of Chibok Girls Abduction (April – July 2014)
April 14: The Government Girls Secondary School in the village of Chibok reopened for exams. Armed men in Nigerian military uniform stormed into the school at night, telling the girls they would take them to safety. The students soon realized the men were not real soldiers; they were actually from Boko Haram, a terrorist group based in northeastern of Nigeria whose name figuratively means “Western education is a sin”.
April 16: The government of Borno state announce a reward of $300,000 for information leading to the rescue of the school girls. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan calls a National Security Council meeting in Abuja to review security measures to determine the best way forward. The Nigerian military issued a statement that almost all of the girls had been freed. The next day, the military retracted their claim.
April 24: Parents of the missing girls and other Nigerians take to social media to call the attention of the international community to their plight and to put pressure on the Nigerian government to take action. Ibrahim M. Abdullahi, a lawyer in Abuja, sends the first tweet using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
April 30: The “Million-Woman March, held in Abuja, gathers about 500 people who were mostly women dressed in red. They marched to the National Assembly and delivered a letter, complaining that the government was not doing enough to ensure the release of the girls.
May 2: President Goodluck Jonathan announces a “fact-finding committee” to help in the search of the girls. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Washington “will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice. That is our responsibility and the world’s responsibility.”
May 5: In a video statement, Boko Haram leader acknowledges that his group was responsible for the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. He declares the students “will remain slaves with us”. The White House confirms that the United States is helping Nigeria in the quest to find and free the abducted schoolgirls. There is some speculation that the girls may have been moved into nearby countries.
May 7: Boko Haram attacks the Nigerian village of Gamboru Ngala on the border with Cameroon. Over 300 people are killed in the attack. In Paris, French president François Hollande offers Nigeria a “special team” to look for the girls and Britain says it will send a team of experts to Nigeria to help with the crisis. China’s Premier Li Keqiang, on a visit to Abuja, promises that his country will make any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services available to Nigeria’s security agencies.
May 12: In a new Boko Haram video, the leader of the group Abubakar Shekau claims to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls. The girls say they have converted to Islam and the terrorist group declares they will release the schoolgirls in exchange for all imprisoned militants.
May 17: United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, President Goodluck Jonathan and French President, François Hollande are among attendees of a summit in Paris on the growing threat of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. William Hague offered Nigeria assistance in the form of military advisors, but has insisted that the country must take its security responsibility seriously in the face of ongoing attacks from Boko Haram.
May 21: Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US Professor Ade Adefuye responds to disparaging remarks made by Senator McCain at a meeting in Washington DC. He said the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to secure the safe release of the Girls and assured that #our girls will be back.
May 27: The military says it knows where the girls abducted by Boko Haram are, but ruled out using force to rescue them. Nigeria’s president was sent a new video of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in which they plead with him to spare their lives through a prisoner swap. The Nigerian government has denied that any deal was on the table, and has so far neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the video.
July 12: Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai visits Abuja and meets, first with five of the girls who escaped (July 13), and then with the President (July 14).
July 15: Jonathan’s planned meeting fails to hold as the parents reportedly cancel it the very last moment. Goodluck Jonathan blames #BringBackOurGirls campaigners for whisking away the parents who were to visit him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
July 16: Parents explain that they did not shun the meeting with President intentionally, but were unaware of it saying they received the invitation already on the day of the visit scheduled by Jonathan.
July 17: Presidency sends another letter to the girls’ parents and the event gets rescheduled to the next week.
July 22: Jonathan meets with the parents of the Chibok girls at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Culled from The Nation
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